fbpx
Connect with us

DailyArtMagazine.com – Art History Stories

Billie Bond’s Kintsugi: The Crack Is Where the Light Gets in

Billie Bond, Breathe, bronze, 2019. Source: Facebook: billie.bond1.

Sculpture

Billie Bond’s Kintsugi: The Crack Is Where the Light Gets in

Kintsugi (金継ぎ translates as “gold joinery”) is a Japanese art form and philosophy of repairing broken or cracked pottery with gold or silver colored lacquer. Unlike normal methods of repair, the “damage” is not camouflaged or hidden but is highlighted, revealed and emphasized. Much like the Japanese philosophy of wabi-sabi, this art form sees potency in embracing the flaws and imperfect. These broken pieces become part of the history of the object and are honored and recognized. Billie Bond integrates kintsugi into sculpture.

Classic example of kintsugi technique. Source: amazing.zone/kintsugi-cracks-are-beautiful

British artist, Billie Bond, integrates this centuries old technique in her portrait sculptures. Since 2014, her exhibits and works explore the kintsugi themes of the broken, redemption and human fragility and strength. Using a variety of sculptural materials, the results are poignant, moving and incorporate kintsugi in a unique and modern way.

Billie Bond was born in 1965 and grew up in Essex, England. Originally a nurse, she eventually went onto design and then studied art. In her words these kintsugi pieces explore the idea that the cracks “make the object better than it was before – it is enriched by its experience.”

Kintsugi Head 1 (2014) was the first piece of Bond’s I came across. The beautifully serene, yet scarred, almost mutilated appearance was so striking. It was part of her Perfect Imperfection – The Art of Healing exhibition, which was her first solo one in London. As with all of the works in this series, it explores trauma and pain, especially psychological, and seeks to uncover and understand it.

Billie Bond, Kintsugi Head 1, Black stoneware, resin, epoxy, gold leaf, 2014. Source: Royal Society of Sculptors.

Stemming from her medical background, there is a great understanding of the human form and function. There is also the element of putting the pieces back together in a very metaphorical sense. Rebuilding, reestablishing with more depth and understanding than before the breakage. Bond says that to her the “creation of realism is the craft, the art begins when I destroy it”. Below the image shows the result of the breakage after she casts the sculpture.

billie bond kintsugi
Smashed ceramic head before kintsugi application. Source: BillieBond.com

Principles of Fortitude 1 (2014) shows slightly different coloring and effects the materials have. There is a solemnity and sombreness that is pensive and almost meditative. The figures are self-contained, consumed by their pain and their healing. Here too we feel the fragility and are struck by the gleaming scars.

Billie Bond, Principles of Fortitude 1, Glazed stoneware, resin, 24ct, 2014. Source: Thompson’s Gallery.
Billie Bond, Principles of Fortitude 1. Detail. Source: Decanted Design.

Breathe (2019) is a powerful and enlivening piece. It seems to invoke much more of the initial stages of healing as opposed to the other two. You can feel the figure taking a deep breath with a subtle smile. On her Instagram Bond states:

“Breathe presents aspects of psychological trauma and healing as a physical narrative… The work begins its journey in the traditional sense of realistic representation, then seeks to expand the parameters of the genre beyond a lifelike representation through a process of destruction and repair to convey a journey of grief and trauma to healing and wellbeing. Emotional encounters are imbued into material form. The illuminated resin sections represent an enlightenment through experience. The act of making, destroying and repairing demonstrates a universal metaphorical journey. This work sits quietly and meditatively presenting imperfections, pain and memories – the scars of life.”

billie bond kintsugi
Billie Bond, Breathe, bronze, 2019. Source: Facebook: billie.bond1.
billie bond kintsugi
Billie Bond, Breathe, bronze, 2019. Source: Facebook: billie.bond1.

One of Billie Bond’s most recent projects is a commission by Janssen Pharmaceutical Company and Global Alliance of Mental Illness Advocacy Networks-Europe to “create 5 Kintsugi ceramic objects that visually described the journey of people living with Major Depressive Disorder.” Called “Breaking Depression” the project seeks to better educate and understand mental health.

Breaking Depression: creating the campaign with kintsugi artist Billie Bond. Source: YouTube: Janssen EMEA. October 9, 2019.

The human condition of growth, redemption and healing are timeless and so relate able. Bond’s touching and thoughtful approach to the subject is so modern and respectful. In this time of more understanding and destigmatization of things such as mental health, it is wonderful to see how art like this is such a big part of unfolding our stories and empathy.

Giotto’s weeping angels started my love affair with art history.
Seattle, WA based.

Comments

More in Sculpture

  • Richard Serra, Cycle, 2011, Gagosian Gallery. Source: Artsy. Richard Serra, Cycle, 2011, Gagosian Gallery. Source: Artsy.

    20th century

    The Most Iconic Sculptures by Richard Serra

    By

    Richard Serra is an American artist and sculptor involved in the Process Art Movement. He often constructs site-specific installations, made out of fiberglass, rubber, and most frequently steel on a scale that dwarfs the observer. His site-specific works challenge viewers’ perception of their bodies in relation to...

  • Mária Švarbová, The Swimming Pool series, Slovakia. Source: www.mariasvarbova.com. Mária Švarbová, The Swimming Pool series, Slovakia. Source: www.mariasvarbova.com.

    21st century

    Nostalgic Futurism in the Photography of Mária Švarbová

    By

    Mária Švarbová is a talented, young, Slovakian, female photographer. She is known for her conceptual and minimalistic photographic series, immersed in a Socialist Modernist architecture and radiating an intimate atmosphere, ruled geometry, and color balance. The Swimming Pool series, which confirmed her talent and started her...

  • 21st century

    Eli Rezkallah: I Created My Own Fantasy World

    By

    We all know the iconic lyrics for the James Brown song “It’s a Man’s Man’s World”. Since 1966 it reminds us that the world has always been of men, in the wake of an America in which being a woman meant being a mother and a...

  • Contemporary Art

    They Are Black Because I’m Not White – Portraits by Lynette Yiadom-Boakye

    By

    Celebrated in 2018 with a solo show at the New Museum, the English painter of Ghanaian descent Lynette Yiadom-Boakye hypnotized me with the painting you see below (the starkly restored setting of the Venetian Palazzo of the Zattere certainly added to the impression). Lynette Yiadom-Boakye’s entire...

  • Contemporary Art

    The Colorful and Extraordinary World of Niki de Saint Phalle’s Tarot Garden

    By

    Inspired by Antonio Gaudí’s Park Güell in Barcelona, Parco dei Mostri in Bomarzo, as well as Palais Idéal by Ferdinand Cheval, the French-American artist Niki de Saint Phalle, decided to create her own mystical garden, Giardino dei Tarocchi. It is full of twenty-two extraordinary sculptures resembling...

To Top