Exploring harmony

In both his sculptural and functional wares, Kanagawa-based ceramicist Satoshi Nishikawa explores the contradiction of modern and ancient. He does this by combining conflicting forms, materials, and textures: mixing rough soil with straight sides or marrying prehistoric colors—primarily white, black, and red—with large, bulbous bodies. Pick up an object by Nishikawa and one will feel a sense of necessity in harmony: old and new, soft and hard, form and function. The ceramicist expounds a more relaxed—in fact, balanced—approach to primarily function- or form-based artists.

And yet, it is his collaborations with ikebana artist Yuji Ueno that truly highlight and elevate Nishikawa's intent. In a 2016 interview in which the artists interview each other², Ueno describes his work as a study and extension of the vessels he works with. "There are many people who are attracted to the expression of their flowers rather than their relationship with the vase, " he explains, "and because of [this], [sometimes] an artist is distrusted that he may be able to live with the vessel alone." Ueno works to uphold the proportions and shape of the vessels its arrangements sit in—and this is precisely why Ueno and and Nishikawa's works are so powerful together. By creating a union of flower and container, Ueno and Nishikawa demonstrate the beauty of "wa・和": living in harmony.

¹: Interview with Satoshi Nishikawa
²: Nishikawa and Ueno joint interview