PROUNS(SLASH) is inspired by Canada’s reforestation landscapes and by the Japanese video game Katamari Damacy.
The legend of Katamari Damacy tells the story of a young prince who attempts to reconstruct the stars and planets of the Universe, accidentally annihilated by his father the King of All Cosmos. To do this, the prince rolls adhesive Katamari balls on the ground that collect all objects in their passage. The more objects a ball accumulates, the larger it grows; from thumbtacks, to books, trees, buildings, mountains, and so on. When each ball is large enough, the prince launches it into space, it is transformed into a new star, and the process begins anew.
The poetic idea of recreating the Universe by means of terrestrial material is filled with hope and appeals to me particularly as a ceramic artist, the ceramic medium being a durable form of expression, here to speak to numerous generations to come. In our consumer society and culture of the disposable, it remains essential for artists to believe in the relevance of bringing new enduring objects into the world, objects that allow us to reflect on our past and imagine a different tomorrow.
PROUNS(SLASH) consists a of a ceramic sphere clad not with objects as with the Katamari ball, but rather large wood panels. The semi-hollow ceramic form echos the knotted and burned tree stumps (slash) left over after a forest harvest and subsequent forest fire. The colourful panels, partially inserted, cut and penetrate into the surface of the ceramic mass. These panels also serve as supports for the 300 lbs. ceramic form, elevating it to chest height. The images presented on these panels have for subject matter the Canadian Reforestation Industry.
In a reflection on reforestation, the resulting ceramic form undergoes both a literal and figurative fragmentation and reconstruction.
At a distance, the sculpture emits a simple geometry (with linear forms inserted into spherical a mass) inspired by the two-dimensional works of Russian avant-garde artist Lazar Lissitzky and his contemporary Moholy-Nagy. Lissitzky described his PROUNS (Russian acronym for “projects for the assertion of the new”) as being “stations of correspondence between painting and architecture”.
With his PROUNS, Lissitzky aimed at a universal meaning, where the artist, rather than the simple reproducer, became “builder of a new universe of objects.” It was on these foundations, and in this artistic context, that the future of our universe could be built. This subject is a relevant historic reference to be examined in my own practical and theoretical research on exploratory relationships between the ceramic object and the image, and remains as relevant to us today as it did to Lissitzky some 90 years ago.