A piece by potter Shigekazu Nagae comes to life

Detail from 2012/29/1 Sculpture, ‘Forms in Succession #5,’ slip-cast and glazed porcelain designed and made by Shigekazu Nagae, Seto, Japan, 2011, Powerhouse Museum collection

Forms in Succession #5, porcelain sculpture created by Japanese potter Shigekazu Nagae dances beautifully in this video. The paper ‘look-alike’ form evokes the aesthetics of origami – the art of Japanese paper-folding. Made by using a slip-cast technique the material speaks of its origin yet shyly introduces itself to international audiences.

Recently acquired into the Museums collection, it was supported by The Ceramic Collectors Society in Australia. The video documentation shows ‘Forms in Succession #5,’ slip-cast and glazed porcelain designed and made by Shigekazu Nagae, 2011, from the Powerhouse Museum collection.

The piece was made in the pottery town of Seto, known for centuries as the cradle of Japanese utilitarian ceramics. The family of the artist Shigekazu Nagae (born in 1953) produced thousands of cheap slip-cast porcelain bowls and plates. As a youth, this made the artist feel inferior to individual potters who hand-crafted their ceramics. After graduating from the Seto Ceramics Training Institute, Nagae saw unique artistic possibilities in slip-casting, which he thought 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. The Museum acquired the object as fine example of how an innovative idea enables the artist to adapt conventional production techniques in this case slip-casting, to create new forms.

In order to enhance the understanding of the piece, it was decided to capture the beauty of the object on film and allow the piece to speak for itself.

Photography by Geoff Friend and video production by Leone Jones.

This article was originally published in Inside the Collection.