Sculpture, 'Forms in Succession #5,' slip-cast and glazed porcelain designed and made by Shigekazu Nagae, Seto, Japan, 2011
This porcelain sculpture, 'Forms in Succession #5', was made by one of the Japan's leading porcelain artists Shigekazu Nagae. The object is significant in terms of its innovative use of a traditional technique and distinctive Japanese design which evokes the aesthetics of origami, Japanese paper folding. This piece is a very good example of how an innovative idea enables an artist to adapt conventional production techniques, in this case slip-casting, to create new art forms.
Shigekazu Nagae was born in 1953 in the pottery town of Seto known for centuries as the cradle of Japanese utilitarian ceramics. His family produced thousands of cheap slip-cast porcelain bowls and plates. As a youth, this made him feel inferior to individual potters who hand-crafted their ceramics. After graduating from the Seto Ceramics Training Institute, Nagae saw unique artistic possibilities of slip-casting, which he thought that other techniques such as wheel turning or hand-coiling could not achieve. He thus created his distinctive sculptural series 'Forms of Succession' of which this work is an excellent example.
Ref: Aoyama, Wahei, 'Shigekazu Nagae: abstract silhouettes in white porcelain', p.34-38, Crafts Arts International No. 83, 2011
The object contains two individually cast porcelain sheets in a rectangular shape. Each sheet is produced through slip-casting and bisque-firing then they are bonded together by glazing the joints, later attached together in the kiln. Artists intentionally utilised curving forms that the kiln naturally produces during the firing process.