Pools of mysterious shadows, sudden illuminations, deep sensual reflections, vast planes of black, sharp angles and the softest of curves – Igawa Takeshi’s grand sculptural works evade instant comprehension.
Conceptually based on the infinity of sea and sky, the impenetrable obscurity of black, and using the natural lustre of lacquer, Igawa uses the freedom and fluidity of kanshitsu, the dry lacquer technique that traditionally uses a fabric mold rather than a wooden substrate, to create form. One’s emotions flow with the sea, soar with the clouds – this is the essence of mastery- physical and spiritual manifestation.
Igawa Takeshi is in his early thirties, with a PhD from Kyoto University of Arts in lacquer art, and a lecturer at Saga University in Kyushu. In a search for the contemporary in the field of lacquer, Igawa is a rare find. The strict traditions and the technical demands of the Japanese lacquer world seem to mitigate against innovation. The lacquer world has not seen the radical reinterpretations that have occurred in the fields of ceramics and metalwork.
Coming from an academic back- ground, rather than a traditional apprentice in a lacquer studio, Igawa is creating contemporary sculpture in lacquer. In revisiting a traditional technique, and somewhat controversially taking advantage of modern materials, Igawa uses styrofoam and hemp to create his abstract sculptures. Intrigued by light and shadow, Igawa uses the natural lustre of urushi, a tree sap, and the curves and shapes of his work, to create light and colour on a black surface.
Gradually gaining recognition at vetted exhibitions, he has recently received an Excellence Award at the Asahi Modern Craft Exhibition and the Grand Prize at the Ishikawa International Urushi Exhibition. Currently working to create pieces for the 2011 Korean Biennale, Igawa struggles with the commitments of university lectures, filling in forms for the Biennale in English, and finding time for his own creative work.