© Simon Starling (with Yasuo Miichi), Self Portrait (as Henry Moore), Uranotype print, 2011
still from a video about the project “Embracing the Remake”
“Kintsugi (金継ぎ) is the art of fixing broken pottery with a lacquer resin infused with powdered gold. The “recycling” of once valued objects, now broken and destroyed represents an art practice of rebirth and renewal. At this moment of world economic depression I find the practice of Kintsugi to be one of optimism. This USA project, Embracing the Remake, will enable me to study with experts at the Hiroshima City University, visit a lacquer workshop in Kyoto, and study existing objects in collections in Tokyo and Kyoto. My goal would be to create a series of photographs documenting these artworks of transformation as well as updating the practice of Kintsugi by “repairing” contemporary unique objects and broken mass-produced commodities.
In 1915 Marcel Duchamp created the first readymade, “an ordinary object elevated to the dignity of a work of art by the mere choice of an artist.” I propose to extend Duchamp’s allegorical procedure of redeeming common mass produced objects to include the Japanese practice of Kintsugi. I realize that Kintsugi was limited to the repair (or redemption) of valued unique collectible works of art. However, the idea of revaluing and once again elevating worthless broken objects into objects of desire is an interesting proposal.”