Click here to see Makoto Hatori working during the symposium

Woodfiring symposium
8th - 29th May, 2006

Invited Guest Artist

"Everything goes back to soil in the long run. At least, the materials that have been here on this earth from the very beginning. I am challenging to represent the most "natural" nature by these materials, based on my own traditional "natural" view to the nature."

"A water container is to use for the tea ceremony and for the cinerary urn. The intelligence in this real world blocks one from obtaining the peace of mind of the self. Lineality in tradition is related not only to artistic matters but also to religion. Both deny logic and try to grasp the truth intuitively. If the essence resides in the spirituality-through-experience, it is possible for people who lack intellect to grasp the essence by reliance on the handiwork and sense-by-repetition."

A Bizen potter, Hatori primarity produces traditional vessel forms( many of which are used in the tea ceremony) from a specially prepared clay that is single fired in a noborigama over a nine-day period. Placement in the kiln and subsequent accumulation of fly ash are integral to surface texture and color.

Hatori particularly values the accidental results of the labor-intensive firing--pots welded together or shards that have attached themselves to pieces. Traditionally, these are known as onigo or "evil children" and thrown onto the waste pile. But he considers them the true creations of the kiln and has adapted this concept for his recent sculpture. Some of these assemblages recall the remnants of past civilizations unearthed by archaeologists; others are geometric studies that refer to his concerns about pollution and chaos in tody's society.

Born in 1947 in Japan, Makoto Hatori apprenticed to master potter Ken Fujiwara in 1969. He then earned a degree in sculpture at Nihon University, College of Arts and went on to study technology at the Gifu Prefectural Institute of Ceramics. By 1975, he had established his own studio in Ibaraki(a region in eastern Japan), where he still works today.

"The concept of my work in general is 'facing the tradition'. It is obvious that so called 'traditional Japanese' arts, formalised and castrated . . . and supported by narrowly closed group of people who support one another under the guise of 'tradition' . . . cannot be universal. However, European and America people consciously or unconsciouly praise them under the mentality of 'orientalisum', in which they portray what they want to see in Japan, frequently neglecting the obvious fact and reality in Japan. This contributes to the maintenance of so called 'traditional Japanese'arts.

The distinction of agrarian culture and hunting cluture is sometimes emphasised within this context, attributing the fine-grained techniques to the former while overall creativity to the latter. Japan is portrayed as a representative of the former, both by Japanese traditional artists and foreign people.

However, in the current age of networking, it is becoming more and more clear that this stereotypical framework is nothing more than a mutually supported illusion. I am huntingthe universal value of beauty through pottery. I don' t follow the tradition nor simply flight it, but am facing the Japanese tradition simply because there it is as a basic environment of my life. I wish I could contribute to the transnatinal communication of arts without sticking to the castrated Japanese tradition while at the same time without getting rid of a simple fact that I am a Japanese.

Click here to see Makoto Hatori working during the symposium

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