|Makoto AZUMA: hand vase|
|Written by Satoshi KOGANEZAWA|
|Published: November 23 2009|
fig. 1 View from "Makoto Azuma: hand vase" at CLEAR GALLERY, photo by Shunsuke Shiinoki, courtesy of AMKK
fig. 2 View from "Makoto Azuma: hand vase" at CLEAR GALLERY, photo by Shunsuke Shiinoki, courtesy of AMKK
fig. 3 View from "Makoto Azuma: hand vase" at CLEAR GALLERY, photo by Shunsuke Shiinoki, courtesy of AMKK
fig.4 View from "Makoto Azuma: hand vase" at CLEAR GALLERY, photo by Shunsuke Shiinoki, courtesy of AMKK
There is one anecdote. Hideyoshi Toyotomi heard that morning glories were blooming beautifully in Sen no Rikyu’s garden and he wished to visit there. However, as soon as reaching Rikyu’s garden, Hideyoshi noticed that all the flowers had already been gathered. He was embarrassed. Guided by Rikyu and entering a tearoom, Hideyoshi found there was only a single morning glory in a vase which was put on an alcove. Rikyu clipped all the other flowers in order to highlight the beautifulness of the single flower.
Here, I dare not care about whether the above anecdote is true or not and its source. What should be focused on here is not whether the story was written about the fact but that this kind of story has been passed down until the present. I would like to refer to such an aesthetic feeling as shown in this anecdote. Indeed, what Rikyu did with the aim of making certain beautifulness stand out seems to be little bit too theatrical but it is understandable.
On the floor of the gallery, there are a hundred of vases in a certain form of human hands, which were newly created by Makoto Azuma for this exhibition. There is a daffodil which is put in one of the vases. The title of the exhibit is the “hand vase” (Hasami-ware vase for a single flower, W100mm×D75mm×H225mm, 2009) [fig. 1] [fig. 2] [fig. 3]. Like the morning glory told in the above-mentioned anecdote, the daffodil which straightly stretches upward from the vase clearly shows its beautifulness. In fact, the “hand vase” has already been presented at AMPG in January 2009, but the exhibit of this time is contrasting with the previous one in that in the latter each “hand” held a flower. Indeed, the concrete floor of the exhibition space does not give us so dense impression as that of an alcove, but it seems to contribute to highlighting the beautifulness of the flower together with the white wall of the venue. Daffodil is a kind of plant which grows putting down its root under the soil. I felt the “hand vase” represented the second place - human hand - where daffodil which has been cut off from the ground live. The “hand” was modeled on that of Azuma.
Nevertheless, I cannot help but referring to the relationship between a vase and the beautifulness of flower even after I have grasped some kind of message included in the exhibit. I am not sure it is due to the large number of vases orderly displayed but, while gazing at the vases, I gradually come to feel that there seems to be no particular meaning in their shapes. Then, I get to consider the form of vase as not that of hand but that of vase. Needless to say, a vase exists for the purpose of being used as a place where flowers live. Flowers blooming in a field are beautiful on their own. Therefore, we should avoid damaging their initial beautifulness and make it stand out throughout processes of clipping and arranging them. It would be able to say that a vase plays an extremely important role in the above processes. A vase may be the second ground for flowers to live.
A nail part of middle finger of each hand was made hollowed out to be used to pour water and put a flower from there. This kind of flower like daffodil is suitable to be arranged in this vase. A delicate and pretty daffodil appears from Azuma’s manly and large hand. If you stand in front of a palm side of a hand, you would feel as if the flower has grown from the middle finger. At that moment, you would notice the hand has been transformed into the ground.
Lastly, let me introduce Azuma’s statement.
My hands may injure someone. Also, they can fold someone. Sometimes, they may be treated as dirt. And other times, they can be regarded as holy. The “hand vase” allows such ambiguities which “hands” are forced to accept as part of them, not with “my” narcissism but with the beautifulness of “flower”.
(Translated by Nozomi Nakayama)
|Last Updated on November 02 2015|
The “hand vase” series, which Makoto Azuma presented at AMPG, have been newly created as works of Hasami-ware vases which are used for single flowers. This is the first time for us to enjoy his vase works. In the previous series, we found various kinds of poses of hands which wear white gloves. This time, using pure-white porcelain, he created vases in the form of hands posing in only one style. Nevertheless, he has been keeping his style of creating works in that he always focuses on using flowers in his creations. I wish to put a flower in the “hand vase” which would be completed only after being added a flower. (Translated by Nozomi Nakayama)