7 questions to Motomu Oyama & Helga Ritsch

Q What is it that you want to express through your works?

Motomu Oyama : Iron and metals oxidize in the air, and their appearance becomes slightly different from that of yesterday. It is a sense of impermanence existing in the material. My works are an attempt to bring this sense into the living space and to give it a form making it visible for people.

Helga Ritsch : I try to give my works a touch of beauty and sublimity that reflects and allows the possibility in life to forget everything else for a short moment and enrich you life with hope and joy by looking at my works, touching them, using them.

Q What does it mean to you to make things?

Motomu Oyama : It is an act and a way for being me, also to connect me with others and to bring me sociality.

Helga Ritsch : First of all, it is work for me, sometimes hard work until I am satisfied and achieve what I am looking for. It is equally but also the little I can and this I try seriously and nevertheless with a certain ease to perform. It is also for me the way to create my life, to spend my time here on earth. 

Q What does “art” mean to you?

Motomu Oyama : I think that art is something that is not within the scope of creators, but might be left to the sensitivity of receivers.

Helga Ritsch : Art is for me an attempt and a need to form, order and share my thoughts and feelings because that is obviously - for whatever reason - important to me. An effort to understand and to be understood, an excise in concentration and focus. This helps me to endure many things.

Q Why did you choose iron/clay as a material?

Motomu Oyama : Actually, there is no intention nor necessity in it, it's just a coincidence.

Helga Ritsch : Clay is soft and can be changed during the creation process well and again without many tools, the processing also makes little noise, I hate noise. The material changes its state after firing: I like that. This final moment during the firing, which has little to do with me and I can leave the result a little to 'chance' and I may then also be surprised myself when opening the kiln door. This unpredictability makes this material attractive for me.

Q What do the colors black and white mean to you?

Motomu Oyama : Yin and Yang, Eros and Thanatos, I think they are two sides of the same coin.

Helga Ritsch : Black for me can stand for the end, the darkness, the night and white for the beginning, the brightness, the day - I love both states or times and try to live in both and find some kind of balance. 

Q What do you think the difference between the West and the East is?

Motomu Oyama : I think differences between the West and the East are based on religion and philosophy. I feel that this is a difference in approach, as Western art often fills in the blank spaces, while Eastern art leaves blank spaces. However, there is no difference in beauty, and I believe that we climb the same mountain by different routes.

Helga Ritsch : I have been thinking for a very long time and realize that I have spent too little time so far in the East to be able to answer the question meaningfully. May I therefore limit the question to Switzerland and Japan? Then I would say, but very carefully, both countries seem to me to be regulated and decent and focused on performance and not necessarily on individuality. Switzerland is tiny, while Japan is huge, which automatically makes everything a bit more complex. Switzerland therefore probably 'rewards' rather mediocrity, while in Japan rather the outstanding is expected. I subjectively feel that the concept of beauty is much more strongly weighted and understood in Japan. While in Switzerland this phenomenon is often dismissed as superficial and useless and even scares people. It is different in Italy where my father comes from.  In short: The question is difficult to answer because East and West again consist of many different countries. At least for me. I am deeply sorry not to be able to answer the question well.

A question from Helga RItsch to Motomu Oyama-

What is flower for you?

Motomu Oyama : Flower is “now”.

A question from Motomu Oyama to Helga Ritsch -

Is there any influence of the nature and environment of Switzerland to your work?

Helga Ritsch : Basically, my environment influences my work and my attitude to work. Nature and the tranquillity and space that often come with it help me a lot to concentrate on what I'm doing. That's why I spend a lot of time in my studio in the mountains on the south side of Switzerland: so yes, the environment there supports my work and doesn't distract me. It would be interesting for me to see how my work would change if I were to work in a completely different country - only then would I know exactly whether the landscape of Switzerland influences my work. Maybe not - maybe it's more the tranquillity of the rural environment? No matter where? 

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