I started making Jewellery because I wanted to extract the aspect of "ornament" freed from architectural context. Fumiko Gotô interviewed by Klimt02

Interview  /  Artists
Published: 09.09.2019
Fumiko Gotô Fumiko Gotô
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Fumiko Gotô. Brooch: Soramame 07, 2019. Hand - carved mammoth ivory, mother of pearl, silver.925.. 2.9 x 2.1 x 5.4 cm. Fumiko Gotô
Brooch: Soramame 07, 2019
Hand - carved mammoth ivory, mother of pearl, silver.925.
2.9 x 2.1 x 5.4 cm
© By the author. Read Copyright.

Like a wall lamp function as an ornament for a room, a brooch worn on the body is an ornament that cherishes your appearance, makes statements, and it radiates a charm into the surroundings.
What’s  local and universal in your artistic work?
Jewellery is worn directly on the body - this is local. Further, the scale I aim for in my jewellery is what fits into the mouth - this is very local. As a physiological aspect of this means that my jewellery not only excites the sensation of sight, but also touch and taste.
If any of my jewellery pieces evoke a desire to put it in the mouth, regardless of vast differences between individuals with their cultural background and experience, then I have achieved one of my aspirations to create a universal ornament, inspired by traditional Japanese sweets - wagashi, with its appealing size - variation that fit in the mouth without taking a nibble - hitokuchi.

What do you expect when you show your work to the public (for example, with an exhibition)?
I do not have certain expectations, but I am always very curious to see how each individual reacts to my work. I am fascinated each time to see how the reactions vary so much depending on each person’s background and culture. I am an observer, and it is always a unique and fun experience to learn how greatly perceptions vary. I learn about the universality as well as the perceptional diversity of each human.

How important is the handmade for you in your development? What role does technics and technology play in your development?
Carving is a very analogue process, using my body and some hand tools or sometimes with the help of mechanical tools. I also utilize digital technology - I draw my forms with CAD - as I am accustomed to drawing floorplans and sections. However in this case of jewellery - making, I work with CAD at a very different scale - namely 1:1. This scale seems direct and analogue. 
Creating jewellery is a one-person act, with a few exceptions as one may let the pieces cast or stone set by someone else. With jewellery making, I have control over my decision making from the beginning to the end - and that is very different from Architecture. Architecture is always about collaboration - with clients, construction firms, local authorities, environment, etc. I draw my jewellery forms with CAD, simply because it is very malleable to create forms that pass to the conceptual images I have.  

When you start making a new piece what is your process? How much of it is a pre formulated plan and how much do you let the material spontaneity lead you?
My creative process entails both a pre-formulated plan as well as being lead spontaneously by the material. Numerous conceptual ideas are always circling around in my head, some are short-lived and others linger for days and nights and months. Sometimes I succeed in transforming these concepts into concrete shapes, but at other times the translation fails disastrously. From time to time a nice coincidence happens though. As if the elements on my bench encounter and they are drawn to each other as if they were magnetized, adhering together to create a Being - a karmic relationship.  

Are there any other areas besides the jewels present in your work?
My background in architecture, design and art; my interest in archaeology; World politics keep me restless; always learning from history, and I am enchanted with traditional Japanese artefacts.

How important is wearability in contemporary jewellery? And in your pieces?
I started making Jewellery because I wanted to extract the aspect of ornament freed from architectural context. The notion of ornament is widely rejected in contemporary architecture, although it always has existed subconsciously, disguised its form as a functional element. I create mainly brooches whose appearance is free from the technical apparatus - pins are hidden behind, just as wall lighting-fixture appear as freely attached ornament relieved from technical components such as electrical cables, which are hidden in the wall. Like a wall lamp function as an ornament for a room, a brooch worn on the body is an ornament that cherishes your appearance, makes statements, and it radiates a charm into the surroundings.

The last work, book, film, city that moved me was...
Castello Annunciation by Botticelli and the lovely city of Sabbioneta.

What/who is the biggest influence in your career?
Perhaps using the words biggest and career are a bit exaggerated in my case, but I have been certainly influenced by the spatial balance and composition – Ma – of Shibata Zeshin; wagashi or traditional Japanese sweets; mannerist paintings; and Italian baroque architecture.

Which piece or job gave you more satisfaction?
In the process of designing and creating, I rarely achieve satisfaction. Rather my process is a repetition of uncertainty and nervousness, and then things suddenly seem to come to enlightenment, followed again by overwhelming uncertainty. This process haunts me sometimes for days and nights.

What is your source to get information?
I get my daily dose of information from the printed newspaper.

Considering the experiences you have had over the years - if you could go back and give yourself a piece of advice for the start-up phase, what would that be?
I cannot see myself objectively enough to answer this question, but if I would give advice to the others for their start-up phase it would be, Find out who you are and stay true to being yourself.

Can you describe your personality in 3 words, describe your work in 3 words.
It is not possible to describe my personality in three words, but about my work, I could say that I think I have created some LOVEABLE STRANGE CREATURES.
Fumiko Gotô. Brooch: Untitled, 2018 - 2019. Hand-carved buffalo horn, onyx, silver.925.. Fumiko Gotô
Brooch: Untitled, 2018 - 2019
Hand-carved buffalo horn, onyx, silver.925.
© By the author. Read Copyright.
Fumiko Gotô. Brooch: Hyôtan 022B, 2018. Hand-carved buffalo horn, mother of pearl, silver.925 in Tomobako-box.. 2.2 x 2.4 x 5.9 cm. Fumiko Gotô
Brooch: Hyôtan 022B, 2018
Hand-carved buffalo horn, mother of pearl, silver.925 in Tomobako-box.
2.2 x 2.4 x 5.9 cm
© By the author. Read Copyright.