ANTIQUES AND THE ARTS WEEKLY
Joan B Mirviss Presents ‘Tempest ’ New Sculpture By Fujikasa Satoko
September 15, 2023
NEW YORK CITY — The most highly anticipated exhibition at Joan B Mirviss LTD in years is finally opening this September with new sculptures by the extraordinary artist Fujikasa Satoko. Titled, “Tempest,” this show marks her third solo outing in New York and the first since 2019. After an agonizing fouryear wait, both collectors and curators now have the opportunity to encounter the latest creations by this youthful talent from Japan whose career is only just getting started. The inspiration for this body of work comes from the stormy seas and restless clouds that have characterized the atmosphere of the past few years. While also facing down personal headwinds, Fujikasa has felt at times unmoored from her artistic practice that had been anchored in themes involving growth, flowing water, and light. Her latest exploration of the wilder side of climatic phenomena has resulted in powerful sculptures that reveal a new dimension to her dynamic artistry.
Since her previous solo exhibition, like everyone else, the artist had to reckon with the sudden changeability of her situation, one made even more unpredictable following the birth of her first child:
“One day when I was struggling to raise a child while also working as an artist, I saw a video of a supercell thunderstorm and realized that I felt as if I, too, were at its center...Yet there was also a solemn and breathtaking beauty about its course, as once the clouds disappeared, the sky was calm again as if nothing had happened. I recognized the similarity to...a life that may experience chaos, but which still moves forward with hope.” —Fujikasa Satoko, May 2023
Evocative of billowing clouds or crashing waves or just pure movement, her gravity-defying sculptures are firmly within the realm of not only contemporary clay sculpture but of international contemporary art. Her strongly gestural work has rendered the distinction between craft and fine art unnecessary, even obsolete, and has defied further categorization by extending beyond the geographical identity of its creator.
She is certainly rooted in Japan’s long ceramic history, and the rising curls and tendrils of her sculptures, conjuring both wind and sea, are drawn from a deep connection between Japan and nature. Over the last few years, she has focused primarily on the modeling and construction of form while still drawing upon all the techniques she learned through her extensive togei (Japanese ceramics) training. What has resulted are clay sculptures created with both a boundless freedom and astonishing technical skill. Shaped from the highly desirable, coarse and pliable clay of Shigaraki, her sculptures are all meticulously coil-built. The tapering thinness of the walls of each sculpture must be sufficiently sturdy to bear the weight of the ascending form.
Furthermore, the significant scale of her largest works necessitates impeccably controlled drying time, which is the most difficult aspect of her process. Her ambitious forms finally materialize as multi-dimensional sculpture only after many months of painstaking patience and labor.
Fujikasa Satoko (b 1980) debuted as an artist to nearly instant acclaim. After graduating with an MFA from Tokyo University of the Arts in 2007, she immediately attracted critical attention for her daring and dramatic sculptures. Shortly thereafter, she won the Grand Prize at Genzaikei no togei: Hagi taishoten (Present Ceramics: Hagi Grand Prize Exhibition), which led to a solo exhibition in 2011 at the important Hagi Uragami Museum. In 2016, she won the prestigious Takashimaya Art Award from the Takashimaya Cultural Foundation, which is bestowed upon artists who represent only the finest quality of Japanese art and design.
She has given artist talks at Portland Art Museum (Ore.) and the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, Md. Her works can be found in major museums around the world, including: the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Musée Cernuschi, Paris; Art Institute of Chicago; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Minneapolis Institute of Art; and most recently, the Art Gallery of South Australia.
“Tempest: New Sculpture By Fujikasa Satoko” will be on view at Joan B Mirviss until October 20, at 39 East 78th Street. For information, 212-799-4021 or www.mirviss.com.