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'Metanoia'  by ceramic artist Eriko Inazaki wins the 2023 Loewe Foundation Craft Prize
The 2023 Loewe Foundation Craft Prize Exhibition at The Noguchi Museum, New York
Image: Courtesy of Loewe

'Metanoia' by ceramic artist Eriko Inazaki wins the 2023 Loewe Foundation Craft Prize

The Craft Prize exhibition features meaningful works by its 30 finalists, on view from May 17 through June 18, 2023, at The Noguchi Museum in New York. 

by STIRpad
Published on : Jun 18, 2023

The Loewe Foundation is a cultural foundation, founded by the Loewe family, that fosters creativity, supports educational programs and safeguards heritage in various artistic fields. The foundation's purpose is to bolster design and craftsmanship, encourage creativity, and preserve artistic legacies. To realise this goal, the foundation established the Loewe Foundation Craft Prize, which aims to acknowledge international artisans who demonstrate exceptional abilities in creating objects of both aesthetic and artisanal value. The prize celebrates the ceaseless contribution of craft to contemporary culture. At the prize’s inception in 2016, Jonathan Anderson, creative director of Loewe stated, "Craft is the essence of Loewe. As a house, we are about craft in the purest sense of the word. That is where our modernity lies and it will always be relevant." The foundation's digital platform, 'The Room,' showcases the works of artists nominated for the Loewe Foundation Craft Prize, inviting global audiences to discover and collect art from some of the most innovative craftspeople working today, further supporting global contemporary craft.

The 2023 edition of the Loewe Foundation Craft Prize features 30 shortlisted artists from 16 countries, expressing themselves in a variety of mediums such as ceramics, woodwork, textiles, furniture design, and more. Additionally, the cumulation of the finalist’s work for the craft prize is on display in a public exhibition in Isamu Noguchi’s studio at The Noguchi Museum from May 17 - June 18, 2023. An interplay of materiality and light-producing dynamic gestures envelop the exhibition space, owing to the selection of designs. This is accompanied by objects that initially appear to resemble a material completely different than the one actually employed, such as Belgian artist Nathalie Doyen's 'Pay Cabi'> which perplexes viewers. Indian weaver Maina Devi's 'Lehrata-Khet' was also among the final designs.

Regarding the selection process, Anatxu Zabalbeascoa, executive secretary of the Loewe Foundation Craft Prize experts panel says, "On the sixth edition, we have felt that, with the Prize character established, we ought to open doors. And therefore, we are happy to have been able to further expose the notion of craft with artistic ambition by analysing non-western cannon aesthetics as well as by approaching figurative craft."

Among the artists who were chosen from across the globe for their outstanding and meaningful designs, Japanese ceramic artist Eriko Inazaki emerged victorious. Her work 'Metanoia' is an intricate ceramic sculpture created through the accumulation of minuscule forms on a crystallised surface. The jury commended the Japanese artist’s exceptional take on ornamentation in ceramics and the work's virtuosity, which creates a captivating presence. "What I love about the work is you have no idea what it’s made out of. It has an incredible sense of anxiety in it, which I quite like. At the same time, there is a depth of field that is very unusual in ceramics. You get this idea that it has so many layers that you go into, that you can get lost in it. When you look at it in a video, it looks completely different (than) in the flesh. There is something about this fragility that is remarkable," says Anderson, acknowledging the Japan-based artist. The delicate work was produced by painstakingly layering and arranging these small, detailed forms and attaching them to a clay core which was then fired in a kiln. Inazaki took over a year to complete this artwork which strikes a graceful balance between technical excellence and artistry. The fragile nature of its small elements infuses the artwork with a sense of enchantment, while the meticulous arrangement of the components generates a vibrant and dynamic energy that spreads across the surface, evoking a symphonic form.

Additionally, the jury announced two special mentions—Tokyo-based artist Moe Watanabe received one for her work 'Transfer Surface,' a walnut bark box that epitomises the materiality of bark and references architectural construction and mending, paying homage to the ancient Japanese tradition of Ikebana. Visual artist Dominique Zinkpè received the other special mention for his work dubbed 'The Watchers,' a towering wall sculpture made of individual wood pieces of Ibeji figurines that evoke the Yoruba belief of multiple births, beautifully assembled, expanding the boundaries of contemporary craft. All three of the designs feature a singular aesthetic composition, a mindful balance of traditional and contemporary techniques and beliefs, and extremely meaningful messages that provoke contemplation.

Through this initiative and the recognition of exceptional artisans, the Loewe Foundation Craft Prize continues to celebrate excellence, artistic merit, and innovation in modern craftsmanship, paying tribute to Loewe's history as an established craft workshop. This is the first time such an event and exhibition has been held in the studio. Viewers also have the opportunity to view the exhibition online and the showcase will be documented through a catalogue which contains each of the finalists’ pieces.

The Loewe Foundation Craft Prize Exhibition will be on display from May 17 - June 18, 2023, in Isamu Noguchi’s Studio at The Noguchi Museum, New York.

(Text by Aatmi Chitalia, intern at STIR)

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