Magazine article Artforum International

Jun Kaneko

Magazine article Artforum International

Jun Kaneko

Article excerpt

KLEIN ART WORKS

Jun Kaneko's ceramic sculptures mix a reverence for tradition with a keen pursuit of the revolutionary. That is, Kaneko continues to make large, sometimes functional plates and platters, and all his sculptures are formed of glazed stoneware, their shimmering surfaces obscuring the baked clay beneath. The glazes tend to remain within the quiet gray/white/brown/black range, with a deep-porcelain blue the only emphatic chromatic element. But Kaneko's most characteristic interest seems to be to extend, rather than affirm, the possibilities and traditions of ceramic sculpture. In terms of scale, these works break with the ceramic tradition's legacy of delicacy, conveying a more dynamic materiality.

In this exhibition, Kaneko showed four Dangos (the term is derived from the Japanese for "dumpling"), part of a series the artist has been working on for over a decade, which includes 11-foot-high pieces that, though hollow, can weigh thousands of pounds. Created of slab after slab of thick clay slowly kneaded together into massive, aloof, almost slumbering cylindrical forms, these monumental works sometimes recall the heads found on Easter Island. (Although Kaneko lives and works in Omaha, one of the only kilns in America large enough to slow-fire these clay stele for the months-long period required is in California. …

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