King Houndekpinkou Benin X France
A calling. Un eveil spirituel. Yobidashi.
To French-Beninese ceramicist King Houndekpinkou, this is clay. This is the stuff of creation, of existence. As Houndekpinkou describes it, clay “absorbs everything and possesses a universal memory infused with all the events that mankind has been through…and is therefore capable of teaching us about the past, the present and the future.”
Along with other materials sourced from Africa, Asia and Europe, clay is the primary medium that has led Houndekpinkou to journey between his birthland of France, to his ancestral land of Benin, to his spiritually connected land of Japan in search of learning and conception. The result: the 2016 BB (Benin-Bizen) Project that resulted in “hybrid works that shed a new light on cross-cultural dialogue and clay work as a primary form of plastic expression across nations.”
The learnings of this project are encapsulated, in part, by the series of ceramic work, Time on Earth, which includes pieces that, through Houndekpinkou’s creative process of intentionally scratching, tearing and repairing clay bodies, “cultivates an attraction for the beauty of imperfection”. Once fired and glazed, the works emerge with “visible cracks, grains and flux that emulate the aesthetics of Voodoo altars” from the artist’s ancestral Benin.
Having been exhibited concurrently in Galerie Vallois in Paris and Vallois Gallery in New York earlier in 2017, selected works from Time on Earth will travel to Hong Kong for the first time for the Full Circle Africa component of the World Cultures Festival. Here, Houndekpinkou – a member of the French federation of craft professionals Ateliers d’Art de France – will also be engaging with fellow artists on the building of bridges between Africa and Asia through art.
In this way, the Houndekpinkou’s ceramic collection becomes the bearer of past experience and the vessel of new potential. In this way, the natural lifecycle of clay is somewhat poetically preserved.