Shadow of Sodeisha: Japanese and Irish Art in Clay
This exhibition is now open at the National Museum of Ireland - Decorative Arts & History, Collins Barracks, Dublin 7
The Sodeisha or ‘Crawling through Mud Association’ aimed to reject traditional historical precedents in the then Kyoto-based ceramic industry. They favoured instead work rooted in the international modes and idealism of modernist art through the use of clay in abstract sculpture.
Paying homage to this, one of Japan’s greatest contributions to 20th century world art, twelve artists (six representing Japan and six representing Ireland) were invited to participate in this show. The Irish artists include Isobel Egan, Frances Lambe, Deirdre McLoughlin, Michael Moore, Nuala O’Donovan and Katharine West. The artists from Japan include some of the best known early 21st century followers of the innovative approach of the original Sodeisha artists: Satoru Hoshino, Jia-haur Liang (based in Taiwan), Akito Morino, Mitsuo Shoji (based in Australia), Kazuo Takiguchi and Hidemi Tokutake. Shadow of Sodeisha aims to showcase exemplary contemporary ceramic sculpture from two island nations on the extremities of Europe and Asia.
Sodeisha was founded in an era of post-conflict in a country whose artistic contribution to 20th century ceramics would surpass any equivalent movement of the abstract and non-functional from the west. What that implies for contemporary practitioners in clay from Ireland and Japan seventy years later makes this exhibition a fitting memorial to the founding of diplomatic ties between the two states.
Deirdre McLoughlin, birdie (L 17 cm; high fired ceramic; year: 2016)
There is perhaps no greater Irish exponent of the Sodeisha ideals than Deirdre McLoughlin. McLoughlin is a graduate of Trinity College, Dublin where she read Philosophy, History and English Literature. She first became aware of clay as a medium of expression in the sculptures of Rosemary Andrews in Amsterdam.
Deirdre McLoughlin , SOLACE (L 28cm; high fired ceramic; year: 2016)
Between 1974 and 1982 McLoughlin shared a studio in Dublin with Anthony O’Brien and Jim Galligan, during which time she discovered the work of Dutch Irish-based artist Sonja Landweer. In 1981 McLoughlin moved to Kyoto where the best in her field were based in order to commit herself fully to her work.
Deirdre McLoughlin, mother and me (L 40 cm; high fired ceramic; year: 2013-16)
The sculpture Sun At Noon by Isamu Noguchi and those of Yasuo Hayashi were significant formative influences for McLoughlin. Isamu Noguchi (1904–1988) transcended clay use for functional objects, seeking rather to create abstract sculpture, this being an important premise in McLoughlin’s own work. McLoughlin encompasses both European and Asian ceramic references in her work.
Satoru Hoshino, Spring Snow―Mountain Air 1
Satoru Hoshino is a highly respected master of his genre. Born in Nigata, Japan in 1945, Satoru spent several years teaching as guest artist or artist-in-residence at ceramic centres in such countries as Australia, Belgium, Denmark, Hungary and Korea. From the Sodeisha tradition established by its founder, Yagi Kazuō, Satoru assumed the mantle of smoke-infused sculptural work (kokutō) that was uncompromised by colour or surface patterning, and instead embodied fluidity and plasticity. A symbiotic relationship between artist and material is another hallmark of his work, and he is deeply affected by humanity’s move away from a more cohesive relationship with the earth.
Satoru Hoshino, Appearance ’16 -Mountain Range