Weekly Highlight: MISHIMA Kimiyo 三島喜美代 (1932- )

Weekly Highlight: MISHIMA Kimiyo 三島喜美代 (1932- )

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       Mishima Kimiyo began her career as a painter and printmaker, but found in ceramics a way to move her art into three dimensions through a unique combination of silkscreen and ceramic techniques. In 1971, she began silk-screening images of newspapers, advertisements, and other printed media into the surface of clay before forming it into whorls and folds that resemble natural bits of paper.

She has spent the last forty years perfecting this technique, exploring the possibilities of her unique combination of two- and three-dimensional processes. Because she works in clay, Mishima is often categorized as a potter, but unlike many potters she holds no reverence for clay as a material. She lacks the potter's fetishistic devotion to the clay's surface, but rather turns that surface into an arena upon which she explores the aesthetics of popular culture and the conditions of the modern age. What originally drew her to clay was the opportunity it afforded to move her practice into three-dimensional space, as well as the inherent danger and ephemerality of breakable works of art.

      Mishima's playful creations also reveal her discomfort with the unending accumulation of information and of physical garbage that results from our constant stream of printed matter. Her works represent information that has been read, absorbed, and finally has become mere matter to be discarded. She is haunted by the sheer inhuman scale of our waste, which threatens to overtake our surroundings, and explored these feelings in the 1980s through environmental installations of her works. However, her overall message is not an apocalyptic one. She approaches this serious subject with humor, both disquieted and completely riveted by the process through which both information and objects incrementally lose autonomy as they are absorbed into the greater jumble. She describes her combination of fear and fascination:

"The modern age is overflowing with information. Obviously we are afraid and apprehensive of the nonstop information that comes before our eyes daily, but we also harbor a deeper fear of being inundated in the flood if information... In my work, when a certain space has been created, I hope there will be a dry humor that includes the fear and apprehension of modern times."


Selected Public Collection

The National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto, National Museum of Art, Osaka, The Japan Foundation, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Tokyo, Hara Museum, Tokyo
Ariana Museum, Switzerland, Kunst Gesellschaft Spize, Switzerland, The Museum of Faenza, Italy, The Museum of Art Olot, Spain, The Korean Culture&Arts Foundation, Seoul, Korea, The Everson Museum of Art, New York, Asian Council N.Y., The First National Bank of Chicago


MISHIMA Kimiyo 三島喜美代 (1932- )
A Pair of Ceramic Objects "Newspaper-N", circa 1982
"The New York Times, Wednesday, April 7th, 1982"
(Large) H16.8 x D30.2 x W36.0cm, H6.6" x D11.9" x W14"
(Small) H11.2 x D17.4 x W16.9cm, H4.4" x D6.8" x W6.6"
Signed K. Mishima at the bottom (both)
With 2 Signed Wood Boxes