Harmony at times, discord at times

Eiji Uematsu: The art of fire and clay




A friend of mine placed a huge steel ball and a glass bowl on the floor in his workshop. In between them stands a piece of stone in a strange shape that looks very much like a miniature craggy mountain. My friend bursted into laughter after learning my curiosity for where did he got this piece of stone, because that is in fact a work of ceramic made by Eiji Uematsu, a potter who has the ability to reproduce nature.

While the peculiar stone continued to occupy my mind, I unexpectedly chanced upon an Eiji Uematsu exhibition. I was struck by the exhibition hall setting, not to mention how much I was captivated by his pottery in display, which is a combination of toughness and tenderness. Clay was fired into a sturdy body, which contrasts starkly with the bestowed names like wind and starry night. brings one’s soul in like a magnet, and hence realise a sense of tenderness underneath the toughness of ceramic. Chunky and rough pieces of clay are brought to firing in wood fire; fire leaves blemishes of red and black colour on the clay, the more violent fire sometimes even cracks the clay. An encounter among fire, clay and human can engender harmony, it can as well bring about discord — what Uematsu presents to the audience is precisely conflict and balance of such nature.

I ended up bringing a vase home. This exceptionally small vase that only has the length of an index finger possess a powerful energy that can create chaos or tranquillity to its surroundings.