Katsuyo Aoki, the greatest living artist working in porcelain, is best known for her intricately formed and complex ceramic skulls. As the artist states, “skulls express the sacred and vulgar atmosphere of the present age.” Working almost exclusively in white porcelain, Aoki elevates her undeniably macabre subject matter through the use of elegant, organic swirls in a style immediately reminiscent of Rococo interior design. In abandoning straight lines for these exclusively curvilinear forms, Aoki attempts to evoke a feeling of spiritual tranquility and awe in her viewers, and to express the important contradictions of her contemporary time.
Her labrynthine objects are hand-sculpted in bone-white porcelain whose bright simplicity underwrites the works' complex, bourgeoning details. This material, for its extreme level of difficulty and corresponding level of formal intensity, imbues her works with an uncanny delicacy.