Mie Kongo

Artist Statement

I am an observer, an inquisitive searcher who 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, its complex history, and the inherent qualities of ceramic materials. I am exploring 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 and meanings. In my process I employ rules of precision, careful design and craftsmanship, while also striving to generate an atmosphere of casualness and playfulness. “To play” and “be playful” are, for me, serious activities.

I have been exploring diversity in materials by using porcelain, stoneware, earthenware, glazes, 100% wool felt, silk & cotton, wood, plastic/3d printed objects, Plexiglas, rendering foam, latex & acrylic paint, found furniture, etc. Each building element, derived from logic or chance, is assembled into geometric abstract compositions that recall the early stages of an architectural model or primordial architectonic structures. What I am interested in the ideation stage of models is their potentiality; it can be something and anything.

While I investigate sculptural relationships of volume, surface, balance and tension,

I contemplate the notions of natural balance, the unification of opposites and the interdependence of all things. What I look for is coincidences/bumps between the elements that create meaningful impact or relations, and I wait for the moment when the work appears to have become a self-contained unit of meaning that is open to multiple interpretations.

-- Mie Kongo


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, “Unknown game series” 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.