You are talking about the notion of time, growing, imperfection, fluidity. Do those aspects come from your close relationship with Native Americans?
I can only say that my attitude towards life and thought widened after I got to know about a certain Native American world. Though it happened unexpectedly, I learned many things by travelling on their lands with the help of Native American friends, and on my own. I also learned from their everyday life, by sitting at the kitchen table, eating together and so on. One time I set myself a personal project and wrote out interviews with more than 30 Native American people, some famous, some not and of all ages from different reservations. I compiled these as Collecting Voices . All the experiences helped me think and see things from a different perspective than before.
Can you please expand on the process of layering which would appear to be present in both your ceramics and painting practice?
For ceramics, I created layers of surface by the repeated process of multi-glazing, multi-firing with sandblasting between and after firings – sometimes as many as 5-6 times. While I developed the technique and though my work is in a much tinier scale in comparison, I realised it mirrored Nature’s process of weathering that I took special notice of in my travels. Fragile, yet surviving to show its strata after a long period of time, weathered surfaces on rocks and stones always attracted me.
Later, when I started painting, I was a blank canvas myself, and intended to be free from any preconceived ideas or even from any of my previous experience in ceramics. It took some time before I realised that I was layering paints over and over again, often scraping off, sanding off and applying another paints on top of already applied layers. The process usually looks like nothing
but messy trial and error, until I come to the moment of ‘this may be it! ‘ (Only if it comes!!)
The final surface may bury almost all that’s underneath, however, through uneven paints or scoured surfaces, sometimes revealing history.
Layers to me, means passage of time.
What does “landscape” mean to you?
Landscape to me is not only the one you can simply see, but rather a spatial extent in mind.
This concept came after my own experience of walking and driving through
huge tracts of lands over the years, when I visited remote historical sites as well as
natural wilderness. It is not vacant. Landscape gives me a sense of belonging to a certain
space and connection with people of past and present.
I also hope my landscape will connect to your own landscape. Everybody should have their own internal landscape.
Did collaboration with 139 Artspace bring anything new to your art?
It was such a great and refreshing experience - different from any other exhibitions I have ever participated in!
Planning to install the works was hard to imagine in my studio until the very last minute of bringing the pieces in, but once I was in the 139 window, I found myself enjoying doing it. When I finished and looked at the window from outside in an early December dusk, my window installation of ‘PATH OF MY OWN TIME AND SPACE’ also reflected houses across the road. All became one image. It was surreal. Most of my pieces were inspired by landscapes far from England, (I have devoted feelings to each place), but the London landscape fit in perfectly. Gaps of time and space were gone. It was a magical moment.
What is my art? I often wonder. What do I want to do with art?
If an artist sells lots of work, does it mean it is good art or she or he is a good artist?
There might be different answers to the questions, and I am not arguing here. However, I would like to believe my art is not merely a commodity. While I was in the middle of installing, two passing men stopped and gestured thumbs up to show that they liked it. We smiled at each other.
I loved that moment.
I was searching for somebody who could speak the same ‘ART LANGUAGE’ with me , and
I found them at 139 Atspace .
(Copyright by Aki Moriuchi)