Nao Matsunaga uses clay and other materials in a particularly intuitive way of working. Working spontaneously, and without a fixed idea of what he is creating, he uses his whole physical being to create his work; using the rhythm of his body rather a set of preconceived ideas.
Here, Nao discusses how the lockdown has given him space to think, sharing homeschooling with his illustrator wife and some of his latest work.
An interest in ceremonial objects and spaces has been at the core of my practice for many years. By their very nature, ritualistic objects and spaces have to transcend the everyday, and I am intrigued by how they make this move into the realm of the unusual and the extraordinary.
I am particularly interested in how early man interacted with his surroundings, and the ways in which primitive cultures shared traditions across the world, and how these practices continue to shape our lives. I am attempting to capture this idea of universal similarities and primal elements that resonate with my work.
I am conscious of the repetitive action in my making, of not knowing what I am trying to achieve, teaching my muscles to move in a certain way, breathing and not breathing, but working and responding to the reality of what is happening in front of me. This is how my pieces emerge into being. Controlling the speed and time of my engagement with a piece is an important method I use in creating something that is different from a previous piece. Changing or altering the physical distance I have from a piece while I work is another way I apply some control over what happens in my studio.