While Paris is hosting the Japanese cultural season, Denmark also happens to coincidentally celebrate a historic anniversary - the 150th anniversary - of its diplomatic relations with Japan. On this occasion, gallery LA Joaillerie by Mazlo and association Arketip present the works of two contemporary art jewellers, respectively Japanese and Danish.
Thanks to the support of the Danish Arts Foundation, Kaori Juzu and Per Suntum have been selected alongside Danish artists and designers to participate this year in a study trip to Japan.
During their stay, the two artists went to meet Japanese craftsmen, to catch the spirit of their know-how and the philosophy that governs their approach of the material and discipline. At the end of this journey, both artists came up with a personal project, aiming to explore the Japanese concept of MA through their works.
But what does MA refer to ? This Japanese concept is indeed as popular as obscure, and seems to be as difficult to define as to translate.
Written with a character composed of a sun framed by the two leaves of a door, the word ma can be translated as "interval" or "distance", in a both spatial and temporal sense.
However, it was not until the turn of the 20th century, and particularly in Masakazu Nakai's writings from 1929 on, that this rather common term from the Japanese language became a concept in the critical and aesthetic discourse, precisely through intellectual exchanges between East and West. The generic notion of MA - this distance that both separates and connects - is thus regularly convened since the 60’s and 70’s by multiple artistic disciplines, to approach the concept of space and interval in the light of the specificity of Japan.
But just as the notions of interstice and void have not waited for the emergence of the concept of MA to fuel the Japanese thought and aesthetics, the works of Kaori Juzu and Per Suntum also seem to have somewhat always been guided by this principle.
Through an unsettling mirror game, both artists have at a certain time of their existence chosen to experience the distance between them and a foreign culture, by crossing this path between East and West as a way to discover themselves. In their specific case, the MA could thus be interpreted as an initiatory path to gain access to self-knowledge, as an artist, in the confrontation with the irreducible difference of the Other.
In Per Suntum's works, the minimalist aesthetic inherited from the rigor of Danish design is transcended through the contact with the Orient by a spiritual dimension. It is essentially expressed through the obstinate exploration of textures and of the limits of the materials. His abstract works, which he defines as "intimate signs" can evoke nature, but above all, invite the gaze to go through their surface and their reliefs, bringing you to a meditative contemplation.
His purpose is not to imitate nature but to recompose it and capture its essence in the form of a sign whose mystery is as beautiful as it is inscrutable. Per Suntum's works have a lot to do with Henri Michaux's landscapes. They are Landscapes of the road of life rather than of the surface of the Earth…
As for Kaori Juzu, her enamelled treasures are like micro-revelations, imposing a remote and silent intimacy. The artist thus alternates pure forms and assemblages of intertwined and contrasted shapes, subtly coloured, while playing on the effects of mattness, shine or roughness with a refinement that never fades away. These are works of an intense simplicity that seem to draw us far from the echoes and clatter of the world.
This exhibition will also be an opportunity for each of our guests to show an unusual aspect of their artistic investigations:
- Per Suntum will present a series of four sculptures entitled The Signs of Times and Places, a way for him to materialize the cultural atmospheres of Asia, Africa, the United States and Europe in the light of his experience as a traveler.
- Kaori Juzu will present for the first time a photographic work entitled Portrait of material using the pinhole technique to give life to isolated forms, as if wrapped in an atmospheric veil. Another way to evoke the density of the void, this rather impalpable and impassable interval of the MA ...
Exhibition October 25 - November 23, 2018.
Opening reception October 25, 5-8 pm.
Tuesday-Thursday 2-7 pm.
Saturday 11 am - 1 pm and 2 - 7 pm.
An internationally acclaimed art jeweller, Per Suntum lives and works on the island of Bornholm, Denmark. After his apprenticeship at Hans Hansen, he graduated as a goldsmith in 1965 and was awarded a silver medal. He then moved to Ireland in 1967 where he worked for a few years at Rionore before leaving Europe for Asia. For more than ten years, he studied and traveled between Asia and North Africa before finally returning to Denmark in 1981. He then resumed his goldsmith training at the College for Silversmithing and Jewellery and graduated in 1985. His work is included in many public and private collections and he has received numerous awards including the Danish Arts Foundation's Life Long Granting and The price of Distinction from Inga and Ejvind Kold Christensen´s Foundation.