Kimiyo Mishima

For decades contemporary artists have persisted in logically and artistically understanding our collective and or individual relationship with ‘information’ and its accompanying processes. With an insurmountable number of directives, artists have established that their particular choice of media can assist in better understanding (or perhaps misunderstanding) this theme.

After the ready-mades and pop movement, interpretation of ‘the banal’ and ‘ordinary’ comes with a certain level of extra scrutiny. In turn, artists are further pushed into uncharted territories by combining this sense of ‘ordinariness’ with articulate, well made, and undoubtedly beautifully crafted art. The work of Kimiyo Mishima conveys these two notions but rather experiments with the much broader theme of ‘information’ to grand effect. Since the mid 1970’s Mishima has been developing a body of work that critically analyses this idea.

Mishima’s ceramic made pieces of discarded rubbish, in varying shapes and sizes, ignite an instant sense of history, much like the emotion felt when looking into a time-capsule; the viewer is transported to a place of generations past, interests lost, and loves somewhat re-found. Through her ceramic works Mishima crafts many of our everyday items – newspapers, manga, magazines, even cardboard boxes. Her works exude strong craftsmanship yet retain the essence of fragility for things once cherished.

Parallel to this romantic idea of ‘pre-loved’ materials, Mishima’s work makes great comment on contemporary society’s propensity for consuming and discarding in excessive amounts. It could be said that contemporary society no longer values the printed word, especially in lieu of such inventions like the iphone, where the internet can now follow you with the touch of a screen. We discard information as fast, if not faster, than the speed we receive it and wastage is never given a second thought. By building her pieces to almost comical sizes Mishima embraces this almost selfish act to magnificent effect. The sheer weight and grandeur of her work seizes our collective consumerism and holds it in time and space. However, through a medium like ceramic, there is still a sense of danger, an idea that it could crumble at any time.

Whether it is a stacked amount of newspapers, a large rubbish can, or a thrown away manga, Mishima radiates and reflects back to the audience our somewhat enslaved relationship with ‘information’. In an almost quiet and beautiful state, her ceramic works highlight our tendency to consume and abandon with the blink of an eye. Mishima’s work is to be used as both a warning and statement of the accelerated growth of waste and the overflow of information. Her dry humor and tactile pieces is a constant reminder of the delicacy of our environment and our collective part within it.

Mishima’s work was shown in many international exhibitions including “Contemporary Japanese Art”, Musee d’ Art et d’ Histoire, Geneva, Switzerland(1983), Contemporary Japanese Ceramic, The Everson Museum of Art, New York (1992) and Itinerant International Exhibition, Japan-Brazil, Art Museum of Sao Paulo (1998).

In 1974, she received Gold Medal in International Ceramic Exhibition, Faenza Ceramic Museum, Faenza, Italy. Mishima was born in 1932. She lives and works in Osaka and Gifu.


“Early Works”
Oct. 7 – Nov. 5, 2017

Shigeji Mishima / Kimiyo Mishima
Mar. 24 – Apr. 15, 2018

Kimiyo Mishima
Mar. 14 – Apr. 12, 2020


Further readings