Ceramics by Ryuji Mitani

The optimum crudeness


去年木工設計師三谷龍二在京都的Arts and Science舉辦了個展,我抱著對木器的期待跑了一趟。三谷龍二造的木盆子或餐具,看來普普通通,似乎隨處可見,卻又流露著獨一無二的溫潤質感,它們都是沒有個人主張的,都是能輕易溶進任何居室裡,隨時被忽視,只是奉在手裡時,又不期然慶幸它們的存在。



三谷龍二造的陶器與雕塑,亦貫徹著其塗漆木器風格,同樣地淡泊而安穩,但不管是小船或是陶杯,都奇妙地多了一份如夢似幻的氣氛。事實上,他是在Arts and Science的展覽中,才首次發表其陶藝作品的,一向謙虛而充滿童心的他,在處理新的素材時,興致勃勃而又小心翼翼,這份心情,毫無保留地展現在作品之上。慎重地讓自己的技術稍稍偏離完美的境地,剛剛好的粗糙,大概就是他的作品扣人心弦的原因。

Last year, the woodware designer Ryuji Mitani held a solo exhibition in a shop called Arts and Science in Kyoto. As a fan of woodware, I was naturally drawn to the event. Mitani’s wooden plates and eating utensils look so simple at first glance as if they are products that can be easily found in any shops. The vibe his woodware exudes is, however, full of warmness. Without a distinctive design, the items he makes can easily fit into any environment. They can be easily overlooked but never ceased from filling our life with bliss.

Mitani’s woodware was undoubtedly full of charisma, but what impressed me the most in his exhibition was his pottery works. There were a few ceramic boats in the outdoor area of the shop, turning the narrow strip of exhibition space into a grand canal and vast ocean. Waves of sunlight were glittering down and seemingly had set the boats on motion, even though the boats clearly remained still.

Mitani would apply lacquer in his carpentry work. In traditional terms, lacquer should be evenly applied and polished to perfection. On the contrary, Mitani would insist on the texture of strokes when he applies the lacquer so that different shades can be visible. To the eyes of experienced lacquerware craftsmen, Mitani’s works are probably not up to scratch. However, it is exactly Mitani’s casual attempt at lacquer techniques that gives his works a lively touch of crudeness.

The pottery and sculptures produced by Mitani also carry the same subtle and understated style of his lacquerwares. However, from a little boat to a ceramic mug, one can always feel a whimsical vibe to his works. In fact, this is the very first time he has showcased his ceramic work during this exhibition at Arts and Science. His humble yet curious personality is fully reflected by the way how he has carefully handled this new medium. Again he demonstrates how meticulously he can steer away from full perfection and reach the right amount of crudeness. This is perhaps why his works are always enchanting.