Shiro Kuramata - Contemporary Art London Friday, October 13, 2006 | Phillips

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  • Literature

    Shiro Kuramata 1934- 1991, exh. cat., Hara Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, 1996, pp. 74 and 195-196, pl.29, fig. 4; David A. Hanks, et al., Design for Living: Furniture and Lighting 1950-2000, exh. cat., Montreal Museum of Decorative Arts, Paris, 2000, pp. 224-225; Matthias Dietz and Michael Mönninger, Japan Design, Cologne, 1992, pp. 77-79

  • Catalogue Essay

    Shiro Kuramata’s career as a designer coincided with a very prosperous time in Japan, the 1960s through the 1990s. It afforded Kuramata the ability to experiment with new materials and concepts, escaping the Modernist dogma that plagued many other artists. Through his lyrical style he demonstrated that furniture could be freed from industrial confines and transformed into a more artistic and thoughtful endeavor.

    His clever and inventive work with acrylic, which began in the late 1960’s, allowed him to ‘capture gravity.’ The Acrylic stool is perhaps one of the most elegant expressions of this. Produced for the Tokyo boutique Spiral, this stool contrasts the material and immaterial, using feathers and clear acrylic to experiment with the ideas of movement and time.

  • Artist Biography

    Shiro Kuramata

    Japanese • 1934 - 1991

    Shiro Kuramata is widely admired for his ability to free his designs from gravity and use materials in ways that defied convention. After a restless childhood, his ideas of being an illustrator having been discouraged, Kuramata discovered design during his time at the Teikoku Kizai Furniture Factory in Arakawa-ku in 1954. The next year he started formal training at the Department of Interior Design at the Kuwasawa Design Institute. His early work centered on commercial interiors and window displays. In 1965, at the age of 31, he opened his own firm: Kuramata Design Office.

    Throughout his career he found inspiration in many places, including the work of Italian designers (particularly those embodying the Memphis style) and American conceptual artists like Donald Judd, and combined such inspirations with his own ingenuity and creativity. His dynamic use of materials, particularly those that were transparent, combination of surfaces and awareness of the potential of light in design led him to create objects that stretched structural boundaries and were also visually captivating. These qualities are embodied in his famous Glass Chair (1976).

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Acrylic stool

ca. 1990
Acrylic, feather, aluminum.
20 7/8 x 13 x 16 3/8 in. (53 x 33 x 41.6 cm)
Manufactured by Ishimaru Co., Ltd., Japan. From an edition of 40.

£18,000 - 22,000 

Sold for £26,400

Contemporary Art

14 Oct 2006, 7pm