In her Kitsch Kogei collection, artist Keiko Masumoto crafts ceramic vessels unexpectedly embedded with octopuses. Each piece that composes the sea-inspired series beautifully blends a surreal silhouette with a classic aesthetic, tip-toeing the line between form and function.
The ceramic octopus vessels feature intricately painted blue-and-white patterns characteristic of traditional Chinese (and eventually Japanese) wares. Like the age-old pieces that have inspired them, Masumoto’s vases, teapots, and urns are both inherently utilitarian and undeniably visually appealing. Unlike ancient pottery, however, Masumoto’s contemporary ceramics also act as avant-garde, surreal sculptures, with the coiling tentacles, bulbous heads, and ever-watching eyes of octopuses materializing on their glazed surfaces.
To the artist, this relationship between art and craft is a driving force in her practice. By creating pieces that are simultaneously functional and sculptural, she aims to question, explore, and challenge conventional perceptions of art. “Whether art or craft, I want to offer work that is intensely conscious of that category, that framework, to explore what I myself felt,” she explains. “What spurred me to create this series of works was the idea that they might generate some insight, if featured in an intriguing way; works that are situated on that ambiguous boundary.”
In addition to her octopus-adorned vessels, Masumoto creates other quirky ceramic composites. You can see them on the International Creative Network website.