FRAGMENTO – A Review

26 Jul

station pic

Carlos Runcie-Tanaka

Station Museum of Contemporary Art

Being of Peruvian, Japanese and British heritage, Carlos Runcie-Tanaka is as diverse as his hometown of Lima, Peru, with its population of Mestizos, Asians, Europeans, Afro-Peruvians, and both North and South Americans. The potter, whose work is now on display at the Station Museum, chose his vocation after exploring philosophy and receiving encouragement at the Havana Biennial in 1994. 

Three installations make up this fantastic exhibition. As you enter, sounds of Peruvian flutes create an air of mystery throughout. “Progresion Organica” is horizontal on a pedestal. Segments fired separately at 1300 degrees were assembled and then rubbed with iron oxides and stains.  The result is a richly defined half-matte surface that reflects light on an organic log form.  Progression Organica is a work chosen as a representative example of the multiple processes this artist utilizes.   

Turning to the right, the viewer sees “Huayco/Kawa/Rio 2003-2006.” In an appropriate mixture of Japanese and Spanish, the words mean Avalanche/ river.   A tribute to Japanese ritual, this installation contains 13 large spherical forms made of shards of broken pottery.  In Japan it is tradition to throw broken pieces into the river, essentially giving them back to the earth.   Tanaka recycles these fragments into spherical works which provide a three-dimensional experience for the viewer.     

An adjacent room features a second installation containing a glass container filled with shards of stoneware. Different in shape, size and color, these fragments are intended to represent the diversity of Peruvian culture. A separate room is devoted to the installation “Tiempo Detenido/ No Olvidar 1997-2006”  Twenty- two ceramic figures stand on boxes of red light as one figure remains encased in glass at the center of the room.  Inspired by Tanaka’s hostage experience at the Japanese Ambassador’s Residence, where he was held captive in the winter of 1996, the installation conveys violence as red marbles depict bloodshed.  Hands in various formations allude to a lack of communication and are exaggerated in size to create emphasis.  

Rarely does an artist working in the medium of clay achieve such a cohesive expression of identity and culture. “Fragmento” is an exemplary exhibition, now on view thru October 18 at Station Museum of Contemporary Art, 1502 Alabama St.. Read more about contemporary art at www.visualseen.net. –  Stacey Holzer

Photo by Timonthy Gonzales: Huayco/ Kawa/ Rio

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