7782 Yohei Nishimura (b. 1947)
A book written in braille soaked in clay and burnt into a fluffy mass, enclosed in a Perspex box frame
Japan, 1990s onwards
Book H.40cm x W 30cm (15 ¾” x 11¾”)
Perspex box frame. H. 48 cm x W. 38 cm x D. 14 cm (19″ x 15” x 5½”)
Yohei Nishimura was born in Kyoto and studied sculpture making at the Arts Department of Tokyo University of Education. While he was in school, he met a ceramic teacher Hideto Satonaka (1932-1989), an artist who had once produced conceptual ceramic works in Sodeisha (Crawling through Mud Association), the influential avant-garde ceramic group founded in 1949. Inspired by Satonaka’s work, Nishimura has been producing conceptual, sculptural ceramic pieces. Ceramic for Nishimura, however, is not treated in the traditional sense of creating durable objects by firing clay, but rather, it is to make a metamorphosis of materials visible by burning objects. He uses various materials such as clay, stones, iron and paper, and shows the process or transient state of dissolving materials in his work. The case in point is the book series, his signature works from the 1990s. It started when he found a burned book, which was accidentally left inside his kiln and burned to become a fragile white mass. Since then, he has been producing burned clay-soaked books amongst other works, invoking the viewer’s imagination and inviting us to meditate on the metamorphosis, dissolution (death) and rebirth, of objects.
From 1974 to 1998, he was teaching art to the students visually-impaired and encouraged them to produce creative works. This present work, originally a book in braille, reflects this period of the artists life.
His works can be found in various museum collections including: the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo; the Aichi Prefectural Museum, Seto; the Victoria and Albert Museum, London; the National Ceramic Museum, Sèvres; the Museum of Decorative Arts, Paris; the Everson Museum of Art, New York; Musée Ariana, Geneva; Le Musée Historique et des Porcelaines, Nyon.