Expansion from the Inside Out: Mariko Isozaki

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MARIKO ISOZAKI WAS BORN IN TOKYO, JAPAN, and studied at an art school in Tokyo, majoring in ceramic ware. After graduation, she continued her studies at the National Ceramic Art School in Faenza, Italy, taking a course in ceramic sculpture.

At the art school in Japan, she learnt about creating ceramics for practical everyday purposes. Because she was not completely satisfied with her initial creations during the course of her studies in Tokyo, she began to focus her attention on aspects of "expansion from the inside out" of objects she had created, such as ceramic pots and tea bowls. She resolved to think more about the space that fills the inner side of these objects. She moved to Italy for study, where she stopped creating wares and began creating three-dimensional objects in search of 'free form'.

While studying in Italy, she encountered the clay of Majorca. She found that this clay works in harmony with her own creativity, and this provoked inspiration to create ceramic works that are characterised by soft gentle curves, the inner fullness that she felt could only be perceived through this particular clay. Because the Majorcan clay is fired at low temperature, the wares are not very strong. However, the clay evokes a soft mellow atmosphere. The surface is carefully polished with stone, and works which have colour and lustre are created.

Whenever I contemplate her works, I always recall a portion of living creatures or plants. From each of her pieces' gentle curves, coupled with the colour and lustre seen on the surface, I imagine nuts/berries or leaves, etc. This is because I perceive the power that is generated in a process of growth of a living organism. This power can be perceived not only from the outside shape, but also from the expanse of the air inside of it, evoked through clay. …