Object of affection: Jun Kaneko plate

By Ingrid Fetell Lee

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Two joyful worlds collide in one plane. Soft polka dots, the kind that would be at home on the back of Dalmatian, met by three pure color fields, on loan from a De Stijl painting.

It’s deceptively simple, in the Japanese way. Polka dots and primary colors: the kinds of things a random aesthetics-of-joy-generator might put together. But look for awhile and let your eyes adjust. You see the spots, not mechanized nor arbitrary, but each unique and carefully placed. Following them from one to the next, they describe gentle curves. And they respect the colors, lining up at their edges like an audience at a chamber music concert, rising up for the soft wave of a standing ovation at their seats but crossing no significant boundaries. And then the colors, primary but not. Poppy red, Aegean blue, and a yellow just slightly bleached by sunshine: a sweeter, better-tempered palette than the standard one.

When I saw this plate in my Pinterest feed, it stopped me in my tracks. It seemed such a perfectly joyful object. There is so much sensory overload these days, it’s rare that one object can be so captivating, but that’s what this “objects of affection” series is all about: those few things that are really worth our attention. Naturally I had to spend some time trying to understand why I fell so hard for this ceramic oval. I realize that when an object really speaks to us, there’s often a thoughtfulness hidden under a layer of ease. And upon uncovering it, it becomes even more dear to us.

Link: Jun Kaneko
Image: Untitled, Ovals, 2011. Photo by Colin Conces.

November 12th, 2014


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    Discussion (2 Comments)

  1. Sherry Crowson on November 14, 2014

    Well! I will say that is certainly a cheerful plate! Kind of like a smile with a big yellow dimple and a tiny blue hair bow ! Polka dots always seem to be one of those things that make me smile. They can be silly or elegant or just plain fun. I like that these are not quite regular but seem more haphazard. I’m all for a little flex in things !

    1. Ingrid on November 18, 2014

      I didn’t see the face in this, but now that you mention it… I like it! I love polka dots too and I keep a pinboard of polka-dotted things. I can’t get enough of them!


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