Questions & Answers（1/2）
OHNISHI ───── Thank you. I think today’s audience includes quite a few artists. We would like to take time now for Questions and Answers. Asking questions is very important, and I would like this Q & A session to be an opportunity to talk with the Panel members and receive some comments from them.
Audience Member 1 ───── I have two questions. First, I would like to know about the techniques and methods of the Gold Prize winner, Ms. OTANI. Second, I would like to ask Mr. HONMA, a recipient of the Grand Prize, when you created the work, did you have an image of the work and its shape in your mind already? Do you have some anecdotes from the process of creating your work? Perhaps some mistakes? Though maybe it’s a little silly to ask this of the Grand Prize winner.
OHNISHI ───── We are fortunate to have Mr. HONMA present now. Mr. HONMA, could you give us your thoughts?
HONMA ───── I spend a lot of time on creating my works. It would be really cool to be able to split wood with a few quick bangs and then say “done.” But for me, the wood doesn’t split as I expect even though I think I can predict it from the grain. Sometimes it splits in a completely unexpected direction. If I am about to complete my work when it happens, it can ruin the work. That’s why it takes me a lot of time to finish one piece. I sometimes work quite boldly, and other times I find a part I like and try to balance my work from there.
OHNISHI ───── Natural materials might become boring if the artist processes them too much. At the very moment the artist splits the material, the material has power. With too much processing, natural materials would lose that energy or power. This is where the artist often fails, and is something we should be careful about. Wooden materials are hard to handle, and the tools are also difficult to use. The artist is lucky if they get the right powerful moment, and I think that this work shows us such a moment.
Urushi work can be made according to a plan, and many of the submitted works show the perseverance of the artist. This work however, is created in a way similar to splitting bamboo. The moment of the split is what is important. If you try to create that natural split artificially, the result is no good. Mr. HONMA made a great effort not to fall into that trap, and this is his aim.
TANAKA ───── Regarding Ms. OTANI’s work, we only know that she uses a Kanshitsu technique. Honestly speaking, we don’t know her techniques in detail because we could not hear from her directly. I am very curious as to how she created her work. According to the information we have, she used Urushi, linen cloth, wood, wire and resin as materials. So, I assume that she separated the base into several parts and assembled them with wire and resin. I’m sorry we cannot answer your question properly, I am also very curious. The form is refined for expressing a graceful butterfly motif.
Audience Member 2 ───── I think there were some submissions from overseas, what kind of works are they?
OHNISHI ───── We received some works from Korea and Taiwan as our close neighbors. As an interesting and novel example, I would like to mention a work from Russia. It looks like a wall hanging. In Russia, they have a place like Wajima, called Khokhloma, which stands on the Volga. Khokhloma is an area known for its production of folk crafts. They produce matryoshka, one of a set of nesting Russian dolls. The matryoshka is very delicate, and although they don’t use Urushi, the makers use paints to coat the surface like a lacquer. They utilize Makie as a model in an original way. I am impressed with the level of skill in this tradition. For this exhibition, a group of artists who make matryoshka in Khokhloma submitted two works. They certainly have a passion for their work, and they have submitted here several times in the past. At the previous exhibition, their work was selected at the Preliminary Assessment.
There are many different and interesting techniques hidden in the various lacquer traditions of the world. In the mountains of China, there are certain ethnic groups quietly continuing their traditional lacquer crafts. In the Kashmir area in India, the lacquering traditions are carried out in nature like Shangri-la. There, they form the base with paper fibers and coat the items with a kind of varnish, not with Urushi.
The manner of coating is in fact the same. The word ‘nuru,’ which means to coat in Japanese, is quite interesting. The coating materials are slimy, which can be described as ‘nuru nuru’ in Japanese. The crafts of coating are very graceful. Also with make-up, you use your fingers to ‘coat’ your skin with cosmetics. I see make-up also as a coating art. So ‘nuri’ coating is very important to people. I would like to develop this interpretation at future Ishikawa International Urushi Exhibitions.