Shinya YAMAMURA (Japan)
Professor at Kanazawa College of Art
It is said that today the boundaries between art and craft have disappeared, and if the expression of works of art or crafts are the same, it is not necessary to exhibit them in separate fields. Art focuses on artistic expression and aims to convey the artist’s feelings and ideas. The artist’s message as art is more important than concrete practicality. Crafts, on the other hand, are said to be applied arts that emphasize practicality but also have artistic elements. The creators produce practical works that are useful for everyday life, while also pursuing the beauty of the material and a high level of technique. In fact, throughout history, both creators and viewers have seen craft not as ‘applied art’ but as ‘impure art.’ Applied art enriches the users’ everyday lives by bringing beauty and color through the materials and techniques used. Despite this, many creators who pursue purely artistic expression have submitted their work to craft exhibitions and competitions, calling it a form or artwork rather than craftwork. This situation in the world of crafts is curious. Japan used to have a culture that valued the materials and techniques of works, that made them ‘pure’ art in their own right. The joy of creation is felt by experiencing the results produced through creative processes and efforts, and empathizing with others. In contrast to Western individualism, ko-gei (crafts) in Japan values harmony with nature and community. It is based on the spirit of respecting the essence of others.
At the Final Assessment, I selected works that are empathetic and moving with beautiful materials and beautiful techniques. The 13th Ishikawa International Urushi Exhibition showcases new possibilities for lacquer, gathering many excellent works from all over the world. I hope that the appeal of lacquer will continue to spread and new expressions will arise.