In early winter 2012, artist Koki Tanaka and curator and writer Hu Fang began a journey to explore the concept “Ichi-go ichi-e” (一期一会, literally "one time, one meeting") through the medium of pottery. Building upon Japanese philosopher Yanagi Sōetsu’s folk art movement “Mingei,” the journey intended to test and produce human relationships through the collective production of a single piece of pottery. As Tanaka explains, “Because they concentrate to build one piece of pottery using all their hands, participants need to forget themselves and just focus on making...documentation of the process would mean capturing it as if it were an action without anybody – silent concentrative action.”
Tanaka and Hu will invite a rethinking of conceptual approaches to art practices today by discussing the creation process of Tanaka’s work, a pottery produced by 5 potters at once (silent attempt) (2013), currently on view at the Japanese Pavilion at the 55th Venice Biennale. In this context, the temporality and collaborative nature of “Ichi-go, ichi-e” raises questions surrounding communication, process, and perception. In the wake of the turbulence and loss brought about by Asia’s modernization, Hu asks, “What kind of possibility can the making of pottery–one of humanity’s oldest survival techniques–give us today? How can it help us to reconnect to the world? If art practices and survival techniques are supposed to be inseparable, how can we rediscover such a union? Through what methods and trials?” The program is curated by Heidi Rabben and Xiaoyu Weng, and is a highlight event for the Asian Contemporary Art Week 2013 in San Francisco.
Image credit: Koki Tanaka, A pottery produced by 5 potters at once (silent attempt), 2013. HD video and potteries, 75 minutes. Commissioned by The Japan Foundation and created with Vitamin Creative Space, Guangzhou and Pavilion, Beijing. Courtesy of the artist.
Event 5pm – 6:30pm