the Kintsugi drawings


In the West, when an expensive piece of ceramic is accidentally broken, our natural inclination is to make the repair as invisible as possible. The Japanese feel differently, and approach the task in an almost opposite way.

They employ a technique known as 'kintsugi'. Rather than trying to hide the marks and cracks of the breakage, they illuminate the repairs with gold, silver and copper most commonly, or sometimes with a bright pigment that contrasts with the base colour of the ceramic.

The thinking behind this stems from the 'wabi sabi' idea that the history of an object with all its imperfections should be celebrated rather than hidden, and that the object is more beautiful with its faults on display, and so repaired pieces are often more valued than the original. Some have taken this to an extreme by actually breaking perfectly sound pieces to enable a beautifying repair.

My on-going fascination with aspects of Japanese culture led me to kintsugi.

Some of my previous work involved minimalistic drawings based on aerial photography in snow. The kintsugi drawing series is an attempt to create something new from a hybridisation of the two areas of interest, and also to play with the common ground between 'fine' and 'applied' art.