Haiku in Clay

Shozo Michikawa
Silverlens, Manila

About

    Poetry in the Abstract

    For Shozo Michikawa’s second solo show in the country, fifteen new ceramic works will be exhibited for Haiku in Clay. Like the Japanese literary form the show is named after, the pieces call to mind nature imagery transformed into concise strokes directed with focused emotion and expression. 

    In its earliest form, the haiku is derived from hokku which means “starting verse” which compares to clay as the stuff of beginnings, of the oldest materials used by man. For the artist, though, everything comes back to his birthplace in Hokkaido. The island is a continuous source of inspiration for his work because of growing up in an assemblage of landscapes: mountains, valleys, and lakes interspersed with the jarring, precarious beauty of accumulated lava and acid. He says he tries to retain the natural intentions of clay, which begins as a lump in his hands. It slowly takes form as it is kneaded, twisted, and stretched, a performance of art in itself and a form of applied philosophy. 

    In online videos of Michiwa’s demonstrations, he uses both wheel throwing and hand-building techniques where the outer layers of a vase are sliced and shaped using various tools. A long wooden stick like a rolling pin is inserted and used to massage the clay further, highlighting not just the creative labor of making an object but the hidden physical exertion of it that is unseen in the final result. 

    His works of Shino sculptural forms are made with a glaze of natural ash in muted colors partially enveloping its surface but mostly letting the overlapping layers show through the vessels. The base sheets of these appear like they were slapped into shape. On the other hand, the Kohiki sculptural forms in white glaze come in various sizes from tall elongated vessels that seem to have floating fragments to stout ones that resemble bowls to something flat, large and solid like a throne or seat blanketed in thick glaze. 

    The artist says the time of no travel during the pandemic made him think about his practice even more. This is reflected in the new works, where the abstractions in form retain their jagged lines but are tempered with softer waves of movement or undulations. 

    The works, when seen in actuality, also have the surface texture and mass of something very old, like the walls of ruined temples or forgotten cities. One can even imagine they could have been totems from another planet because of their complicated, faceted shapes. Amid a long-standing climate crisis, these pieces inspired by nature make us think of our own encounters with nature itself and how we’ve tried to control something that was never ours to begin with. 

    Shozo Michikawa is a widely exhibited ceramicist and has held demonstrations all over the world from museums to art centers and universities. Haiku in Clay will run from September 22 through October 22 at Silverlens Manila. 

    – Josephine V. Roque

    Shozo Michikawa was born in Hokkaido, the most northern area of Japan, in 1953. After graduating from Aoyama Gakuin University in 1975, he settled his base of ceramics activity at Seto, Aichi. His exhibitions are held widely in Japan and countries like Philippines, Mongolia, France, USA, and the UK.

Poetry in the Abstract

For Shozo Michikawa’s second solo show in the country, fifteen new ceramic works will be exhibited for Haiku in Clay. Like the Japanese literary form the show is named after, the pieces call to mind nature imagery transformed into concise strokes directed with focused emotion and expression. 

In its earliest form, the haiku is derived from hokku which means “starting verse” which compares to clay as the stuff of beginnings, of the oldest materials used by man. For the artist, though, everything comes back to his birthplace in Hokkaido. The island is a continuous source of inspiration for his work because of growing up in an assemblage of landscapes: mountains, valleys, and lakes interspersed with the jarring, precarious beauty of accumulated lava and acid. He says he tries to retain the natural intentions of clay, which begins as a lump in his hands. It slowly takes form as it is kneaded, twisted, and stretched, a performance of art in itself and a form of applied philosophy. 

In online videos of Michiwa’s demonstrations, he uses both wheel throwing and hand-building techniques where the outer layers of a vase are sliced and shaped using various tools. A long wooden stick like a rolling pin is inserted and used to massage the clay further, highlighting not just the creative labor of making an object but the hidden physical exertion of it that is unseen in the final result. 

His works of Shino sculptural forms are made with a glaze of natural ash in muted colors partially enveloping its surface but mostly letting the overlapping layers show through the vessels. The base sheets of these appear like they were slapped into shape. On the other hand, the Kohiki sculptural forms in white glaze come in various sizes from tall elongated vessels that seem to have floating fragments to stout ones that resemble bowls to something flat, large and solid like a throne or seat blanketed in thick glaze. 

The artist says the time of no travel during the pandemic made him think about his practice even more. This is reflected in the new works, where the abstractions in form retain their jagged lines but are tempered with softer waves of movement or undulations. 

The works, when seen in actuality, also have the surface texture and mass of something very old, like the walls of ruined temples or forgotten cities. One can even imagine they could have been totems from another planet because of their complicated, faceted shapes. Amid a long-standing climate crisis, these pieces inspired by nature make us think of our own encounters with nature itself and how we’ve tried to control something that was never ours to begin with. 

Shozo Michikawa is a widely exhibited ceramicist and has held demonstrations all over the world from museums to art centers and universities. Haiku in Clay will run from September 22 through October 22 at Silverlens Manila. 

– Josephine V. Roque

Shozo Michikawa was born in Hokkaido, the most northern area of Japan, in 1953. After graduating from Aoyama Gakuin University in 1975, he settled his base of ceramics activity at Seto, Aichi. His exhibitions are held widely in Japan and countries like Philippines, Mongolia, France, USA, and the UK.

Works

Shozo Michikawa
Kohiki (Sculptural Form)
2022
9391
2
stoneware cut and throwing
21.46h x 8.07w in x 7.68d in • 54.50h x 20.50w cm x 19.50d cm
0
12,000.00
$
0
SPI_SM037
Details
Shozo Michikawa
Tanka with silver (Sculptural Form)
2022
9438
2
stoneware cut and throwing
14.96h x 4.92w x 4.72d in • 38h x 12.50w x 12d cm
0
8,000.00
$
0
SPI_SM044
Details
Shozo Michikawa
Kohiki (Sculptural Form)
2022
9389
2
stoneware cut and throwing
12.80h x 5.51w in x 5.91d in • 32.50h x 14w cm x 15d cm
1
0.00
$
0
SPI_SM039
Details
Shozo Michikawa
Natural ash (Shino Sculptural Form)
2022
9394
2
stoneware cut and throwing
11.42h x 8.27w x 7.48d in • 29h x 21w x 19d cm
0
6,500.00
$
0
SPI_SM033
Details
Shozo Michikawa
Natural ash (Sculptural Form)
2022
9392
2
stoneware cut and throwing
12.99h x 8.66w x 8.86d in • 33h x 22w x 22.50d cm
0
9,000.00
$
0
SPI_SM034
Details
Shozo Michikawa
Natural ash (Shino Sculptural Form)
2022
9395
2
stoneware cut and throwing
16.34h x 10.63w x 9.84d in • 41.50h x 27w x 25d cm
0
11,000.00
$
0
SPI_SM031
Details
Shozo Michikawa
Kohiki (Sculptural Form)
2022
9388
2
stoneware cut and throwing
6.30h x 8.07w x 8.07d in • 16h x 20.50w x 20.50d cm
1
0.00
$
0
SPI_SM041
Details
Shozo Michikawa
Kohiki (Sculptural Form)
2022
9390
2
stoneware cut and throwing
15.16h x 6.50w in x 6.50d in • 38.50h x 16.50w cm x 16.50d cm
1
0.00
$
0
SPI_SM040
Details
Shozo Michikawa
Kohiki (Mizusashi with glass lid)
2017
9397
2
stoneware cut and throwing
6h x 6.25w x 6.25d in • 15.24h x 15.88w x 15.88d cm
0
4,200.00
$
0
SPI_SM007
Details
Shozo Michikawa
Natural Ash (Sculptural Form)
2016
9399
2
stoneware cut and throwing woodfiring
19.69h x 5.71w in x 6.30d in • 50h x 14.50w cm x 16d cm
0
7,000.00
$
0
SPI_SM009
Details
Shozo Michikawa
Kohiki (Sculptural Form)
2022
9386
2
stoneware cut and throwing
6.69h x 6.10w in x 6.89d in • 17h x 15.50w cm x 17.50d cm
1
0.00
$
0
SPI_SM042
Details
Shozo Michikawa
Natural ash (Sculptural Form)
2022
9393
2
stoneware cut and throwing
25.20h x 7.87w in x 5.91d in • 64h x 20w cm x 15d cm
0
14,000.00
$
0
SPI_SM036
Details
Shozo Michikawa
Natural Ash (Sculptural Form)
2016
9400
2
stoneware cut and throwing woodfiring
20.47h x 4.92w in x 4.33d in • 52h x 12.50w cm x 11d cm
0
5,000.00
$
0
SPI_SM010
Details
Shozo Michikawa
Kohiki (Sculptural Form)
2022
9387
2
stoneware cut and throwing
3.94h x 10.43w x 6.10d in • 10h x 26.50w x 15.50d cm
0
3,800.00
$
0
SPI_SM038
Details
Shozo Michikawa
Natural ash (Shino Sculptural Form)
2022
9396
2
stoneware cut and throwing
13.19h x 3.74w x 7.68d in • 33.50h x 9.50w x 19.50d cm
0
6,000.00
$
0
SPI_SM032
Details
Shozo Michikawa
Tanka (Sculptural Form)
2022
9440
2
stoneware cut and throwing
5.12h x 4.72w x 4.13d in • 13h x 12w x 10.50d cm
0
2,000.00
$
0
SPI_SM046
Details
Shozo Michikawa
Kohiki (Sculptural Form)
2022
9439
2
stoneware cut and throwing
15.55h x 6.69w x 5.51d in • 39.50h x 17w x 14d cm
0
6,500.00
$
0
SPI_SM047
Details
Shozo Michikawa
Tanka with silver (Sculptural Form)
2022
9437
2
stoneware cut and throwing
6.30h x 5.51w x 3.15d in • 16h x 14w x 8d cm
0
2,000.00
$
0
SPI_SM045
Details
Shozo Michikawa
Kohiki (Topology Form)
2015
9398
2
stoneware cut and throwing
5.51h x 8.66w x 3.35d in • 14h x 22w x 8.50d cm
1
0.00
$
0
SPI_SM006
Details

Installation Views

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