Mie Kongo grew up in the outskirt of Tokyo, Japan and now lives and works in Evanston IL, where she makes multidisciplinary work: ceramic sculptures & installations, 2D work and porcelain designed objects. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, including recent exhibitions, “Unknown game series” at Dan Devening Projects + editions, Chicago, IL, "Beyond Function" Arts and Literature Laboratory, Madison, WI, "Reformat: Digital Fabrication in Clay" Lillstreet Art Gallery, Chicago, IL, “Circle in a Square” Hyde Park Art Center, Chicago, IL. She has been showing her porcelain products at Paul Kotula Projects, Ferndale MI and Room 406, Chicago IL, Lillstreet Art Gallery, Chicago, IL. Residency: Shigaraki Ceramics Center, Shiga, Japan, European Ceramic Work Center, ‘sHertogenbosch, Netherland, “Intonation 2013” Deidesheim, Germany. She received BFA from School of the Art Institute of Chicago and MFA in Ceramics from Cranbrook Academy of Art. Currently she is Adjunct Assistant Professor in Ceramics department at School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
I am an observer, an inquisitive searcher who constantly tries to understand the subtlety of things in the world. My work is driven by a sense of curiosity, discovery, realization and learning through everyday life and ongoing studio practice.
My passion for ceramics is at core of my research. I am interested in investigating the tradition of ceramics and its complex history, the inherent qualities of ceramic materials, and how the properties of clay and the ceramic process contribute to my sculptures physically, conceptually and emotionally.
Systems, order, randomness and chance are my base line of inquiry. I employ these opposite attitudes, logical thinking/reasoning and spontaneity of play/intuition, to create work that offers multiple interpretations. In my process I employ rules of precision, careful design and choice, and craftsmanship, while also striving to generate an atmosphere of casualness and playfulness. “To play” and “be playful” are, for me, serious activities.
I experimentally engage in mixing materials and processes, such as porcelain, stoneware, earthenware, glazes & under-glazes, 100% wool felt, cotton fabric, wood, 3d printed plastic and clay, architectural bricks, foam, acrylic paint, Plexiglas, found furniture, etc. Each “building block,” derived from logic or chance, is put together to become geometric abstract composition resembling an early stage of an abstract architectural/structural model or primordial architectonic structure.
While I investigate sculptural relationships of volume, proportion, surface/color, balance and tension, I contemplate the notion of natural balance, the unification of opposites and the interdependence of all things.
Discovering unexpectedly harmonious or discordant yet intriguing mixture of things stimulates my thoughts. During composing I look for coincidences/bumps between the elements that may create meaningful impact or relations, and I patiently wait for the moment when the work appears to have become a self-contained unit of meaning.