Hong Kong’s Galerie Nilsson et Chiglien is currently showing a selection of free-form ceramic sculptures produced by acclaimed Japanese artist, Harumi Nakashima. The celebrated sculptor is famous for his iconic polka dots and exotic organic style – an essential ingredient in the Sōdeisha art movement that Nakashima’s work often evokes. Despite being famously active in the industry, Nakashima retains an air of mystery, revealing only that he studied at the Osaka College of Art in the late 1960s and little else.
Sōdeisha developed in the late 1940s as a reaction against the dominion of Japan’s popular folk-craft styles and rustic tea ceremonies; Sōdeisha illustrated a modern take on the “vessel” with sinuous, organic lines and closed shapes that the artists believed resisted the traditional and functional aspects of classic Japanese pottery, allowing the designs to be perceived aesthetically, as opposed to functionally. Despite its disbandment in 1998, the ideology continues to thrive with sculptors like Nakashima incorporating Sōdeisha references in his contemporary pieces, but often with open “mouths” and modern prints.