Akane Saijo: Phantom Body

2022. 11. 5 [sat] - 12.17 [sat] 11:00-18:00 (Sat., 11:00-17:00) * Closed on Sundays, Mondays and national holidays

Artist Statement -----------------------------------------
The Cloven Viscount, written by the Italian fabulist writer Italo Calvino, is the story of a viscount severed in two by a cannonball in war.
The viscount miraculously survives and returns home with only the right half of his body, but ultimately, his long-lost left half returns.
The affinity I felt with the strange situation depicted in this story was the reason I began to approach the theme of the "corporeal presence," which is also the theme of this exhibition.
Even though it exists here, it feels hard to grasp.
The body is an indefinite thing. It is not uncommon for me to feel that way through communication with myself and others. However, unable to come to terms with that indefiniteness, I think there is a world that can only be grasped by sustained contemplation through the human body. This may be because I have chosen to work with ceramics which requires tactile manipulation of material using my bare hands.
In my recent works, I have endeavored to extend and expand the body's and organs' sensitivity by using breath and the hollow chamber inherent to many ceramics. Like in the Book of Genesis, I breathe into the sculpted objects made from the earth; the internal chamber of my organs and the sculpted object are connected and become like a single mass. There is a recognition that they are different entities; 'person and thing' or 'person and person' connect gently in "a moment when the boundary between self and other blurs." The relationship creates inframince, a concept advocated by Marcel Duchamp.
How did the long lost left half-body of the viscount return from its long journey? For this solo exhibition, I will use the exhibition space as a map, creating the image of a body moving from one place to another. Through the solid tactile quality of ceramics and the primitive communication medium of the human voice and breath, I will trace the “corporeal presence” of myself and others.
(October, 2022 Akane Saijo)

Akane Saijo majored in ceramics at the Kyoto City University of Arts, where she participated in the RCA exchange program and completed the graduate program in 2014. Ceramics is her primary medium, and in addition to her studio in Kyoto, where she is based, she stays and works at kilns around the world.

Saijo creates her unique worlds by exposing fictionality in the structural process of ceramic modeling, using various techniques to express a surface reality while the interior is a hollow chamber. She creates narratives that obscure fiction and reality by layering her personal experiences and memories with the cultural and historical facts of the places she has visited. The themes at the core of Saijo's expression always concern the body. Saijo often traces her organic forms from her own body and the figurative characteristics of her work, which are reminiscent of accessories, medical instruments, or bodily organs.

After she created Coquille in 2019, Saijo began developing works in which sound is generated by blowing air into the hollow chamber of ceramics. Recently, through her activities with TŌBOE, the performance group she founded with sound artist Valentin Gabelier, she has deepened the affinity between ceramics and the body.
Since the coronavirus disaster of 2020, Saijo has continued to marry ceramics and the body using various senses, bringing warmth to those who stay inside and pursuing the possibility that people and objects can again freely connect beyond the boundaries of social systems.

For this exhibition, Saijo has conceptualized a story based on the theme of "corporeal presence" and will design a spatial installation of about 10 of her new works. During the exhibition, there will be a two-day performance so visitors can experience the live sounds produced from the works.
With a polished sense, Saijo captures the beauty of the moment when earth and people come into contact. She was selected as one of 30 artists of note under 35 and has been featured widely in the media and various exhibitions. Please make sure to attend her first solo exhibition at ARTCOURT Gallery.


  • Akane Saijo “Phatom Body” ( Performance Archive @ARTCOURT Gallery, 2022)|Movie: SHINSEKI, Inc.

Related events

  • Performance “phantom body”
    2022.11.12 [sat] 15:00-15:30
    2022.12.10 [sat] 15:00-15:30
    Performers: Takuya Oi, Ryonosuke Endo and Ana Miyaki



Akane Saijo