In materializing her unique vision, Aoi Kotsuhiroi uses traditional Japanese sap lacquering methods as “layer after layer the color stratifies and intensifies, taking time, a time that registers to reveal infinite depths.” Answering in poetry and divulging only a glimpse of her creative process, the Paris-based contemporary artist’s feature transports us to an erotic sublimity.

Let’s start with a question connected to our current theme, “Full of Desire”. What do you desire for yourself as an artist, and what would be your ultimate achievement?


I would like to put the smell of Love on clean pillows,

And then say nothing more

And wait for the dawn.

Afterwards, I will open this cupboard to empty it and let the time breathe.

Outside the river flows like an endless stream.

Tomorrow, numb with cold, I will let myself be lulled

Like a suspended dream.

Your artwork carries mystical energy and sensual depth. Do you have an endless source of inspiration? 


It’s raining lost flowers

Tired days, scars of memories

Night buckets

Spilled on windows

And later when the beauty wakes up

I’ll be around to tell her

That spring is not far 

And we all need

To be kissed when we sleep.

In your work, we find interesting materials used – these include wood, animal horns, leather, silver, human hair and so on. Is there any hidden meaning behind the materials?


There is the experience then the emotion

The door open I breathed better

It’s hard for me to drive like this

Three days of searching, digging

To find what I had buried

Few years ago

I didn’t know where it was

Too much has happened since.

I tried for a long time to understand

Eyes gazing into space

Searching for a horizon

Who can give its opinion.

Don’t cry,

There will always be a good reason to defend.

Further down the road

There were signs

And directions

But nothing interesting

Just routine signs.

The trunk open

I looked at my harvests

Not enough stuff

To start growing.

Be light and you’ll catch the birds

It’s always better than a cold.

No more petrol at the station

I will surely finish walking.

I want to talk a bit about the process of making the Vegetal Obscenities shoe-objects. I always thought traditional Japanese lacquer was a meditative and long-period rhythmical ritual. What does it mean for you? Can you tell us about the making process? 


It’s a story of rhythm and dancing with time and seasons. Urushi is a sap, a kind of vegetable blood, and you have this feeling of sharing something that is alive, a kind of fluid that arises in a very peculiar way. A caress that you apply to objects that are waiting for this sap to coat their epiderm, a kind of vegetal skin that comes to dress these “Obscenities”. Layer after layer the color stratifies and intensifies, it takes time, a time that registers to reveal infinite depths. 

Each layer tells me if the light of the color will soon appear. Memory-material where the gesture matches the object and so in a soft half-light, when the time comes, I will be able to see the desire enlighten my dreams.

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Aoi Kotsuhiroi is a Japanese sculptor, photographer, contemporary artist and designer based in France. She studied at Fine Arts School and her collections are produced in France. She considers herself not a designer but rather an ‘emotional pornographer’. Melding both conceptual art and traditional Japanese techniques, Aoi Kotsuhiroi’s objects are powerful and transcendent. Kotsuhiroi’s work has been shown internationally at Brooklyn Museum (New York), Museum at FIT (New York), Musée des Arts Décoratifs (Paris), Trapholt Museum of Art (Denmark), The Albukerque Museum, Palm Springs Art Museum, Manchester Currier Museum of Art, Pittsburgh Frick Art & Historical Center Museum, SHOW Studio Gallery (London), The M°BA Biennale (Netherlands), among others. Kotsuhiroi’s work has also been included in numerous publications and magazines.


Designer / Aoi Kotsuhiroi @kotsuhiroi

Interview / Kateřina Hynková

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