Death Gets a Divine Touch in Katsuyo Aoki’s “Dark Globe”
Born in 1972 in Tokyo, Katsuyo Aoki is best known for her intricately formed ceramic skulls. Working almost exclusively in white porcelain, Aoki elevates her undeniably macabre subject matter through the use of elegant, organic swirls, in a style immediately reminiscent of Rococo interior design. In abandoning straight lines for these exclusively curvilinear forms, Aoki attempts to evoke a feeling of spiritual tranquility and awe in her viewers, and, moreover, to express the important contradictions of her contemporary time. Though Aoki is best known for her skulls, she also creates other ceramic forms, such as crowns and, in one particular case, the forelegs of a horse protruding from a wall. Her incredibly detailed works have been shown across Japan in a number of solo exhibitions, and in several international group exhibitions across the world, such as in the Museum of Arts and Design in New York and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. She has received a BFA in Painting and an MFA in Ceramics from Tama Art University in Tokyo.
Katsuyo Aoki is best known for her ceramic sculptures that apply delicate, swirling forms to dark subject matter. Aoki trained first as a painter before taking up ceramic as her primary medium, though she sometimes creates abstracted images on her ceramic surfaces using glazes in monochromatic palettes. Aoki is best known for her works in relief or in the round, and an ornate style that draws from a range of decorative styles. Her works often look radically different from varying perspectives. Frequently used motifs and forms include the skull, the crown, and dismembered parts of animals—allusions to historic narratives and mythologies.
Japanese, b. 1972