Shaman's Dwelling by Nagakura Kenichi
26 x 40 x 23 cm
10 ¼ x 15 ¾ x 9 inches
This potent vessel is an early work by the solitary iconoclast of Shizuoka. Nagakura said that this work was exhibited and sold in Osaka in 1983. While he continued to use—and often achieve elegance with—combinations of earth, root and bamboo throughout his creative life, in these early days he was leaping into unknown territory.
The strange, burl-like form was constructed first through thin stacked layers of madake bamboo.These twisting which twist , twisting bamboo and then caked in earth which was partially scraped away and scored after drying. The satin-like sheen of bamboo against this coarse textured raw earth encases the basket’s cavern-like internal space, a scale-less dwelling place and vessel for the mind.
In the 30 years since this basket was created, Nagakura became one of the most esteemed of contemporary bamboo artists. He was awarded the Cotsen Prize in its inaugural year, and has exhibited internationally in various fora. He was included in the Master’s Section of Oita Prefecture’s 2012 bamboo exhibition, and was one of six contemporary artists featured in the 2018-2019 exhibition "Fendre l'air", the wildly successful exhibition at the Musee du quai Branly in Paris.
Nagakura has not signed his work for several decades. This work, inscribed Naga in stylized katakana, appears to be his only known signed work.