"How the abstract turns into 'Magic': 'Magic Flute' tops artist Jun Kaneko's (intense, nonstop, decade-long) jaunt into opera" Interview by Anne Midgette
Locks Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of ceramic works by the artist Jun Kaneko, alongside video excerpts of the artist's opera design for Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's The Magic Flute. The exhibition will be on view May 2 through 31, 2014 with an opening reception on Friday, May 2nd from 5:30 to 7:30 pm.
Stemming from his ongoing concerns regarding spatial relationships and installation, Kaneko has fluidly moved between his sculpture and theater practice. The late art critic Arthur C. Danto applauded Kaneko's previous opera design (forMadama Butterfly) stating that, “The production unfolds like a shared dream.”
The exhibition highlights the imaginative color palettes along with the bold and organic patterns that have become a creative signature for Kaneko's interdisciplinary aesthetic. Discussing his glazing process, the artist remarked that, “I start thinking about orchestration of the colors around the work as a whole… sort of like a symphony. Everything has to make an interesting harmony to become one, to be there as one statement.”
With this installation of Kaneko's Dango (freestanding stele forms) and wall-mounted slab works, a new conversation can begin between the artist's studio and his contributions to the opera stage. Within the varying forms of his Dangos, their figurative presence is transformed to the theatrical. The exhibition is presented on the occasion of the east coast debut of The Magic Flute at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. alongside an installation of monumental Dangos in the Hall of Nations.
Jun Kaneko (born in Nagoya, Japan) lives and works in Nebraska. The artist has shown extensively in the U.S. since 1964 and has had exhibits in Finland, Norway, Japan, South Korea and Canada. Kaneko's work is in over fifty museum collections throughout the world including the Arabia Museum, Helsinki, Finland; Detroit Institute of Arts; Los Angeles County Art Museum; Museum of Art and Design, NY; The National Museum of Art, Osaka, Japan; Philadelphia Museum of Art; Phoenix Art Museum; Rhode Island School of Design Museum; Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Smithsonian American Art Museum. In 2013, Kaneko's recent sculptural works were the focus of a large-scale installation in Millennium Park in Chicago.
Kaneko's design for the opera Fidelio debuted at the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia in 2008. The east coast debut of his design for the opera Madama Butterfly became the catalyst for a citywide celebration in Philadelphia with sculptural exhibitions at the Kimmel Center's Commonwealth Plaza, City Hall, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and at Locks Gallery.
Coinciding with the Locks Gallery exhibition is a sculptural installation in the Kennedy Center's Hall of Nations from April 9th through May 19th, 2014. The Magic Flute— featuring Jun Kaneko's set, projection, and costume design—will run at the Kennedy Center from May 3rd through the 18th, 2014.