Fine Arts: Sculpture

Stone, wood and metal as materials have been available for thousands of years. In recent years new expressive materials, such as urethane and FRP, have also emerged. Sculpture is the art form in which artists make three-dimensional objects by entrusting their thoughts to these materials. The fascination of the sculpture course lies in the massive, fully equipped studios which, on a grand scale, allow students to completely lose themselves in their creative work. Forklifts, stone cutting machines and welding equipment are available, enabling students to work in the medium of their choice, whether stone or wood, metal or molding, and in the size of their choice. In addition, the teaching style encourages encounters with a variety of materials and expressive forms. Faculty members are all practicing sculptors, each working to broaden the range of sculpture through their own works. Classes and seminars are not divided by material or expressive style; rather, the teaching system involves the entire faculty working to support each and every student. Exhibitions of works from the department are held in both the Yamagata and the Kanto regions. There is also an active exchange of students with TUAD’s sister institution, the Kyoto University of Art and Design. Encounters with this broad range of people foster and support each student’s creative abilities.

Confronting Materials

Whether working in clay, wood, stone, or iron, a sculptor must learn the characteristics and handling of the material. For example, just as a tree has tree rings, stone has stone striations. Even hard stone can be easily split along such fissures or grain lines. Each different material has its own specific characteristics, and even within the same kind of material, each piece cannot be carved in exactly the same way. In order to understand the rich diversity of material qualities, the sculptor must face the material, getting right up next to it. Those works that are created from an intrinsic understanding of materials are works with a solid basis and can never be considered flimsy insubstantial works.

Woodcutting Experience

Going out into the mountains, entering nature and learning about where the source materials come from is an important part of creating art. Wood, like a human being, is a material with just one life. There is the unique shape to each tree’s trunk and the lines of the land under its spreading branches. Calculating where to stand, and putting one’s whole weight behind the axe―this is to experience cutting one’s own wood.

Holding Exhibitions

Students display their works at the gallery on campus, and in addition there are times when this gallery is used for university-sponsored exhibitions of works by famous sculptors. Nishi Masaaki was invited to hold an exhibition in 2006, and Funakoshi Katsura was invited in 2007 for his exhibition.