Mitsuo Shoji | Transformation / Henka

Mitsuo Shoji | Transformation / Henka

Rochfort Gallery

I have been working with ceramics for over 50 years.  I want to stop briefly and look back at my creative journey to pivotal moments that have enabled my work to evolve.  I believe that in Greek philosophy it was stated that the young seldom reflect on their journey in life, it is only the old who have that capacity! 

Morphe. is Aristotle’s term for form. In Aristotle’s Metaphysics there is a duality between hyle as prime matter and morph‘ as that which forms this matter into the sensible things of the world. Latin translation: forma. Hence the word Transformation or Henka in Japanese,  is very apt.

I am still fascinated how fire can transform clay into a durable long-lasting form,  how fire can transform ‘glass’ into water. I  like ceramics because you can become a sculptor who makes models using clay and also become a painter- you can paint on the surface of your objects. Moreover you can become an Alchemist who can make glazes to encompass the surface of clay objects.

Christians believe that God was a clay artist who made a human body from ashes,  also like a magician making a female born from the male  Eventually we all became ceramic objects, through fire our body returns to the earth! Yes, perhaps we are all ceramists?!
There are so many dichotomies in our lives.  The old and the new, past, present and the future. 

I think we should preserve good traditional things; however, we must also produce new creative things for the present and the future.

Thus, this show is a mix of my old and new work.  It shows key points in my journey through this life in Sydney Australia, which is so far from my traditional homeland in Japan. 

I have included functional as well as sculptural work, two dimensional paintings which I have produced since 1980, when our first son, Enku, was born.  These paintings have evolved over time into unique works that are my own language.

I love the luxury of my journey.  I work in the studio daily always seeking new inspirations and creating new works.  

Honestly,  how far I will keep changing, I don’t know!  I am enjoying pushing the boundaries. 

Previously I expressed my work as: 

"Clay is my body. Clay form is my character. Colour is my emotion."

I still feel that this holds true, even after so many years of making ceramics

Mitsuo Shoji

18 Sep - 26 Oct 2024
Ground Floor, 317 Pacific Hwy, North Sydney NSW 2060

Wednesday 18 Sep 2024
10 am - 6 pm

Saturday 21 Sep 2024
1 - 3 pm

Appearing In This Exhibition
Mitsuo Shoji
Mitsuo Shoji

Mitsuo Shoji left Japan at 26 and taught, exhibited and lived internationally for almost 50 years. In this context he sees the raw invention of his work born of the tensions between deep cultural heritage and the freedom to push his medium further outwards. Noted as a monumental force in Australian ceramics, Mitsuo Shoji uses dramatic scale and deft brushstrokes to make objects that are as meditative as paintings and as imposing as major sculptures. The “Kaze” series has been recognized globally as an important body of work embodying gesture and resonant form. Works in this series have a depth of glaze and boldness of execution that wrestles between compressed humility and energized expressionism. On every piece, the hand of the artist is present, rushing through like a sculpting fall of water. His innate restraint is also there, paring down the elegant lip of a vase or evoking ploughed earth with the raw edge of fired clay. Sometimes his painting looks like rivers of crushed glass glaze and other times the impact of traditional Japanese brushes on the finest porcelain absorbs like the strokes of a Koan on rice paper.

Date & Time

18 September 2024

Start - 10:00 am Saturday

26 October 2024

End - 6:00 pm Australia/Sydney

Rochfort Gallery

317 Pacific Highway,
North Sydney NSW 2060
0422 039 834
Get the direction

Rochfort Gallery

0422 039 834

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