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11/08/18 | YONEHARA Shinji

YONEHARA Shinji

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Yonehara Shinji (b. 1961, Tokyo) has left us perplexed, and bewildered. He is an artist using glass media to address ceramic concerns. Indeed, he researched glass material at the Hokkaido Industrial Research Institute's ceramics department from 1988 to 1993. Yonehara has since taken his scientific knowledge and creative approach beyond traditions in glassmaking. His process reminds us of the contemporary ceramic artists making waves today.

The technique Yonehara developed in 1988 can often be seen in his sculptures, where he uses glass fibers thinner than human hair. These fibers are colored with cobalt oxide and then melted around the main body of each sculpture.

According to Yonehara, "When the glass is melting in the high temperature, it is so vibrant, something beyond imagination. It has so much energy. When I am blowing the glass, I am hoping to use that high energy to express the nature and the life force."

This purple sculpture titled Birth, 2018- Yonehara first made a sheet of one thousand glass sticks that are 0.8-2 centimeters in diameter and 2-3 centimeters in length. Curiously, the sticks contain a minor metal that is typically used for semiconductors. Once he wraps them around a cylinder, the sticks melt onto each other, forming this elusive sculpture. 

 1000 sticks started melting

1000 sticks started melting

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Yonehara says that he works with ideas embedded in ceramic sculpture, as he compounds the material for each piece, and his pieces have a great tactile quality as ceramic do. He gets his inspiration from an old forest in Hokkaido, as well as other deep forests all over Japan. 

 Trees covered with snow

Trees covered with snow

 Deep forest in Hokkaido

Deep forest in Hokkaido

Yonehara's visionary sculptures can be found in many public collections, including the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Corning Museum of Glass, Kunsthalle Düsseldorf, and Yokohama Museum of Art. And Sir Elton John is one of his big fans. 

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C.S. Jiang