Luminescent Vessels | NIISATO Akio

It has been more than 15 years since Niisato Akio made a sensational debut with his luminescent vessels. In these several years, the porcelain bodies have become thinner, the forms much crisp, and the patterns on the surfaces made by a small electric drill have become much more intricate. Through his endless effort to improve his techniques, these vessels seem to approach perfection.

While his technical achievements have received a lot of attention, we must not forget that Niisato wants to express not only beauty, but also the. relationship between human beings and light—such as the feeling of seeing light filtering through trees in a forest, or a thread of light between clouds. For him these moments are metaphors of hope, inspiration, and the interconnectedness of our exterior and our inner selves; these are the themes he wants to express through his vessels. These personal philosophical concepts are deeply embedded in Niisato’s work.

He continues to develop the colored pieces which he introduced in 2013, and for this on-line exhibition, he has created his first large green vessel.

—FUKAI Keiko

The most important aspect of my porcelain Luminescent Series is light. While we can see the sources and effects of light, light itself is illusive. Although light always exists around us, at times it evokes in us something like a spiritual feeling—such as sunlight filtering through trees, light breaking through clouds, or spotlights in the theatre. Since I want people to have those experiences with my work, I began making vessels and drilled innumerable holds in the surfaces and covered them with clear glaze that fills all the holes which allows light through them. I choose the shapes of vessels so that they ‘hold the light’ and this expresses my theme of light.

In the beginning of my career I focused on the techniques of successfully creating all the small holes in my work, but in recent years I am trying to successfully express tranquility, purity, like sunbeams through the branches of trees in the forests around Shinto shrines. Therefore the shapes of my vessels tend to be much more simple and cleaner. Although these simple forms and clean lines often give the impression of industrial design, they are very important for expressing my concepts.

While the white Luminescent vessels are considered my signature work, since 2013 I have been creating colored pieces, but the glaze of these pieces does not fill the holes. With so many unfilled small holes, at a distance an interesting moire pattern appears on the surface. Another important theme of my Luminescent Series is Transience and the colored pieces are linked to this same concept because the moire effect seems to make the patterns on the surface constantly change, depending on the view from different angles. The colored glazes strengthen the shapes of those vessels, but so many unfilled holes in the moire pattern weaken their strength, and therefore their longevity or existence is precarious. I want to explore further the balance between these two contrasting concepts.

I am also very interested in the contrast between simplicity and chaos. Piercing so many holes in the surfaces of these works is an intense process (one might even say chaotic), yet the finished pieces have a very tranquil quality. I want to express this dichotomy in my work.