Aisaku Suzuki: Sculptures

25 June - 30 July 2022

On the occasion of Aisaku Suzuki's 90th birthday, we are presenting a selection of his works.

A catalogue will accompany the exhibition.

Opening: Saturday, June 25th 2022, 11 am
The artist will be present


My works begin with a block of plaster.

With absolutely no plan at all I start working with the chisel. Gradually the block takes on a shape that is constantly “growing” and continuously changing. I term this a “dialogue with the material”.
My involvement with the material not only affects the object, but also me; the creative process is not only visible in the form, but you could say it also shapes me. And as with any dialogue the course the creative process takes can't be predicted. In this way, every moment becomes a discovery, contains something new. I shape a sculpture and at the same time I am shaping myself through this formal change. This entails a constant process of self-knowledge on my part, which is not intellectual, but rather intuitive. Only when I feel that an original shape is “complete” do I decide what material I will ultimately make it from because there are shapes - especially flat ones - that would become deformed during firing. I then choose clay or fireclay and glaze it in blue. I used to correct the original shape again and again in many trial firings until the fired shape corresponded to the original. For several years I have been using wood. For me, these are primarily technical issues, because the shape of the sculpture itself is the most important thing. Whether it can be reproduced or not is likewise of no importance to me. Nevertheless, I sometimes “permit” sculptures of the same form made of different materials to coexist because I have to acknowledge their individual and material appeal.

Another question is what this creative output takes its cue from, what shapes it.

Since I lived in Japan until the age of 35, it is hardly surprising that I have been influenced by Japanese culture. But this influence has probably been reshaped by Western culture although it is not really possible to determine the exact extent of this. In Japan my works are considered European, in Europe they are thought to be Japanese. But what I can say is that I have become acutely aware of the influence of Japanese culture through my constant engagement with Western culture.

The very intention of wanting to create a sculpture as an artist is very European. However, the fact that I don't shape them in my head in advance, make sketches or build models, but rather create them intuitively in the process, is not necessarily Japanese, but rather my personal style of working.

It is possible to summarize the aesthetic influence as follows: minimalist spatial design or an economical use of space, asymmetry, and sensory perception.
The synthesis of these three aspects is perceptible in my sculptures, because they are never symmetrical, always abstract, never a composition of repeated forms and never geometric. Though at first glance they might appear purist, on closer inspection they prove to be very complex and always without precedent in nature. In addition, there is something about them that appeals to the senses: they entice the viewer to touch them.

Aisaku Suzuki