photo: SAIKI Taku

A Small, Little Thing

ArtistHATAKEYAMA Koji
Year1998
Material/ Techniquecast bronze, gold leaf
Size/ DurationH21 × W51 × D17cm
Copyright Notice© HATAKEYAMA Koji
Year of acquisition/ donation2001
DescriptionBorn in Toyama, Japan in 1956. Lives and works there.

Hatakeyama studied metalwork at Kanazawa College of Art, and chose the method of metal casting – pouring molten metal into a mold. He was influenced by minimalism, which kept decorative elements to a minimum. The colored rectangular parallelepiped containers that he exhibited in the late 1990s were decorous and austere. In recent years he has been widening and deepening a range of expression making such works as the ones with the remains of the cedar texture of the mold left, and polyhedron boxes decorated with abstract patterns.

In casting work "A Small, Little Thing" and "Murmur of Pale Green", substantiality of copper and deep tones of the surface give the work a strong presence in a minimal form with a lid cut to the same width as the body. With the technique of metal casting, which enables artists to create complex forms, Hatakeyama dared to create a simple form, thus highlighting the look of the material itself. Because the excess was removed, what is left presents a strong presence. On the other hand, the abstract pattern emerging from the dark background of "Red and Black" appears to have reference to the Japanese traditional patterns. But it is not simply rehashed traditional design. It holds a fresh image resulted from the artist’s successful attempt to bring out a new expression of metal. Around the time of the production of this work, polyhedron forms including octagons were increasingly produced and it has drawn attention as a new direction taken Hatakeyama. His "Gentle Stream" symbolizes another turning point in his style. Unlike his usual smooth-surfaced finish, the vertical grain of the cedar wood of the mold was left on the surface as it was.

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