Kaori Kurihara: Imaginature イマジネーチャー Speaking with the Soul

Posted on 16 July 2019

The art objects of Kaori Kurihara (Osaka, 1987) look deceptively real. Fully focused, the artist creates magical new forms of life that perhaps could have existed, but were actually created in a Paris studio. With angelic patience she works on her detailed ceramic sculptures. Their form is created in a flow. "I hear their voice coming from above. I start working, listen to their voice and that's how they come into existence." From October 19 to November 3, the talented artist, awarded in France, will exhibit for the first time in the Netherlands, at the gallery of Kunstconsult in Amstelveen. 'Imaginature' is the fitting title of the sales exhibition.

Time-consuming process
Kaori's Paris studio exudes serene tranquility. High windows shed loads of light on her workbench full of tools. Her shelves are packed with pots full of glazes and oxides. A couple of large sculptures are waiting in plastic until they are ready to enter the kiln. During the hot summer months of August 2019 Kaori works fully concentrated on the preparation of her exhibitions in Amstelveen and New York. She needs all the time she has. Due to the time-consuming nature of her work, her production is low. Her work process requires neither turntable nor mold: each piece is completely handbuilt and assembled with extreme precision. First the basics, then all the little details. Each part is formed separately and then applied to the main shape.
Refinement and luxury
The fact that Kaori pays full attention to each sculpture makes them radiate refinement and luxury. Yet Kaori happily explains that all her pieces are made with 'regular' fine clay, which she ultimately prefers to work with. After she has created the ultimate shape, a whole new part starts: coloring. This often happens in different phases, where an object has to go back to the kiln several times. Only this way Kaori is able to achieve the deep hues with many natural shades. The final result: completely enchanting and desirable ceramic sculptures.

Free from traditional Japanese ceramics
The basis for the incredibly detailed and secure elaboration of her imaginary fruits was laid when she studied ceramics at the Kyoto art academy. Her technique is typically Japanese: very delicate. After graduating, Kaori moved to Paris, where she followed further art classes in ceramics and jewelry. In Europe, free from the traditional Japanese ideas about ceramics as household goods, she could finally let her imagination run free in her work.

French prize for art talent
During her studies, Kaori already attracted much attention in France. Having just graduated, she received the Prix de la Jeune Création Métiers d'Art des Ateliers d'Art de France in 2015, an important national prize for talented young artists. In 2016 she opened her own studio in Paris. Since then, Kaori’s star has been rising both in France and abroad. She has exhibited in, among others, the Grand Palais in Paris, and in Brussels, London, Strasbourg, Sevres and Switzerland. After Amstelveen, New York will be next.

Important collectors have discovered her work, which – in addition to her low production – makes it even more difficult to put together an exhibition. Kaori has created a series of new works exclusively for the sales exhibition at Kunstconsult gallery.

Appreciating the imperfect
Kaori is fascinated by the geometry and the repetition of forms in nature. In the botanical world, nothing is ever quite the same. The whole of irregularities is in her eyes "perfectly imperfect", a thought that fits in with the Japanese wabi-sabi culture that revolves around the beauty of the imperfect. It is that magic of nature that gives Kaori the energy to work on her creations with angelic patience. About the inspiration for her objects she says: "I hear their voice coming from above. I start working, listen to their voice and that's how they come into existence."

Speaking with the soul
"Speaking" with her soul is also something that comes from Japanese wabi-sabi culture. Kaori doesn't make sketches, doesn't think of anything in advance, but follows the flow. As long as she is working on an object, she does not know what it will look like. Only when it is finished she recognizes: "Oh, that’s what it is."
A prominent French art collector about her work: "Every time you take another look, you see new details. They are amazingly detailed delicate works. The light plays with it: when the light in the room changes, the colors of the objects change. It's as if they are alive. You can watch them for a long time without losing your attention. They change every second. They are alive."


Kaori Kurihara, sales exhibition Imaginature

19 October to 3 November 2019, Kunstconsult - 20th century art | objects, Smederij 4, 1185 ZR Amstelveen, 020-3416476, info@kunstconsult.nl, www.kunstconsult.nl


Opening: Saturday, October 19, 1:00 pm - 5:00 pm - in the presence of the artist.

On show until 3 November 2019, Tuesday to Sunday from 1 pm to 5 pm, or by appointment