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Hoshino Satoru: Ceramicist

Page history last edited by Bethyn V Merrick Nguyen 13 years, 5 months ago

          Born in 1945 in Niigate Prefecture, Satoru Hoshino has become internationally known for his large, earthy installations and his intimate relationship with clay. He has given  exhibitions across the globe in Japan, Europe and America, while also engaging in student learning in multiple universities. He is a respected Japanese artists, as well as a modern ceramicist. His work is raw and natural, with an emphasis on the essence of clay and its earthy origins. His large sculptures are points of quiet contemplation while exhibiting a sense of pleasant simplicity.



When hands struggle against clay, there is a disorderliness, an untidiness which a systematic ceramic art usually tries to eliminate, or bury as much as possible. But in the search for a new ceramic art, disorder itself can provide the means with which to recover form. In chaos there is energy; rather than view this energy as disruptive, even destructive, one can seek the liberating, generative aspect of it, use it to translate the active disorder into form.

Beginning Form- Spiral, Satoru Hoshino




          Satoru's art expresses natural shapes from daily observation. He creates very large pieces which are clearly "hand crafted"; he uses his finger tips as his primary tool, and leaves their varying impressions on his work. His large works are created by coiling the clay in large tubes until the desired height is reached. These shapes are highly reminiscent of tornadoes or unbalanced towering rock. This method is common in early pottery, before the potter's wheel was invented.  His prefers this method of creation because of its humble origins as well as the tactic nature of the formation.


          His early work is typically black from the firing, where carbon is sequestered onto the clay body. This rejection of glaze was a reflection of his desire to keep the clay as close to its natural state, rather than covering it with a glossy glaze.

Though the point of black color absorbed the light, the eye of the human being who sees things by the light is absorbed by black color, too. Therefore, it can say that the black color has magnetic force. In case of "Surface Strata and Depths", black firing is used to lead the eye of person in the inside which can't be seen. In case of "Appeared Figure", it is used to set up the chaos, that is, the condition of darkness like a black hole which is the place where a new form (order) become.

-Contemporary Art, Retrospective Satoru Hoshino


          Satoru's work often proves to be an installation of art; not content with a single piece, he is eager to bring the viewer into a whole world. His work extends from the original vessel to the floor and wall. The fluidity between the spaces allows the work to take on an atmosphere in its environment.  Taken as a whole creation, the artist is able to bring the viewer into his world- one of creative and destructive forces in an ambiguous combination. In 1986, nearly 15 years after he dedicated his life to ceramics and clay, his art studio was annihilated by a landslide. This brute force forever changed his art work; fully realizing the power of nature pushed Satoru to examine his interaction with clay. His work is now subtly powerful, with a barely concealed force that is typical of nature.



In his more recent works, Satoru has explored the use of glaze on his pieces. He does not attempt to control the flow of the glaze, and in this respect, maintains his respect of the mediums ability to represent itself. The glaze, he has come to realize, is also worthy of expression and he allows it to freely move on the piece.


I was honoured to attend Alfred Summer school in 2006, when Satoru was an Artist in Residence. His close relationship with the outdoors inclined him to hiking and photography. He was generous enough to share some of the inspiring photographs that he took near his home that compelled him to create art. The following photographs are from his personal collection.





References and Extra Reading

Ceramics: Art and Perception No. 39 2000 PreCopernican Mud Reincarnate Articles by Satoru Hoshino & Arata Tani

Contemporary Art in Shiga vol. 1  Satoru Hoshino : Retrospective Writing and translation by Satoru Hoshino

Ceramics: Art and Perception No. 66 2006 Tactile Content Burnt Earth Sculptures of Satoru Hoshino by Arnold Kuchta

Ceramics: Art and Perception No. 80 2010 Satoru Hoshino A Life Within by Carine Verleye


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