The focus on Japan that Marianne Heller has cultivated for many years at her gallery for contemporary ceramic art in Heidelberg is based on a longstanding cooperation with the Yufuku Gallery in Tokyo. The latest exhibition, which is entitled The Beauty of Materials, doesn’t only testify to the incomparable beauty of Far Eastern ceramic, but also highlights the superlative artistry with which Japanese artisans process other materials. Glass sculptures by Masaaki Yonemoto (*1987) resemble models of futuristic skyscrapers: although they seem carved from massive blocks, they in fact consist of multiple layers of glass that have been “dematerialized” through minimal steps in the work process and many weeks of polishing. The appeal of the copper plates that Ryota Nishikata (*1978) hammers derives from a touch of silvery tin in their interiors and a deep vibrating blue on the exteriors. Kanjiro Moriyama (*1984) creates objects from dark glazed stoneware that deconstruct the conventional vessel and dissect it in cuts which ultimately rejoin to form an overall montage with an almost cinematographic rhythm. Geometric patterns are modeled or fine lines are engraved in the purist Arita porcelain bowls and chalices that ceramist Yoshinoro Ohno (*1978) turns on a potter’s wheel. Third generation bamboo-weaver Suikoh Buseki (*1958) continues an ancient tradition of plaiting. He weaves shallow and deep baskets from naturally colored strips of various lengths cut from century-old bamboos. The interpenetrating layers form complex geometries and divisions. Nishimura Keiko III likewise continues a family tradition. His almost immaterial vessels push the envelope of feasibility: they’re made from paper-thin wood coated with multiple layers of lacquer. The walls of the finished containers are only fractions of a millimeter thick.
Galerie Marianne Heller