Katsuyo Aoki’s porcelain skull sculptures feature meticulous vanilla white curly patterned details, that look like they could be made of coral, or maybe icing. And if you look closely, you can almost make out blissful grins. Bringing light to darkness, Katsuyo Aoki’s skulls reminds us that life (and death) is beautiful.
Katsuyo Aoki was born in 1972 in Tokyo, Japan and has a MFA in Ceramic Art at Tama Art University. He mostly works with ceramics, incorporating various decorative styles, patterns, and symbolic forms. Her Predictive Dream series is especially impressive, comprised of a number of skulls formed by lacy, swooping, and fragile ceramic tendrils.
The decorative styles and forms I allude to and incorporate in my works each contain a story based on historical backgrounds and ideas, myths, and allegories. Their existence in the present age makes us feel many things: adoration, some sort of romantic emotions, a sense of unfruitfulness and languor from their excessiveness and vulgarity. And on the other hand, they make us feel tranquility and awe that can almost be described as religious, as well as an image as an object of worship.
Aoki creates these works based on what she terms her “inner shadow” of imagination and fantasies, and strives to convey both a sense of strength and fragility to parallel the nature of human societies anchored on the advance of technology and progress, while remaining fractious and imperfect.
(All images via Katsuyo Aoki)