Shiro Kuramata - Contemporary Art Evening Sale London Friday, October 12, 2007 | Phillips

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  • Literature

    Matthias Dietz and Michael Mönninger, Japan Design, Cologne, 1992, pp. 68-69 for an example of the chair; Shiro Kuramata 1934-1991, exh. cat., Hara Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, 1996, pp. 2-3, 21, 56-57, 177, 181 for examples of the chair; Ettore Sottsass, “Una Mostra Dedicata a Shiro Kuramata,” Domus, December 1996, p. 55 for an example of the chair; Alberto Bassi, “Shiro Kuramata: Il Design Transparente,” Casabella, July/August 1999, p. 18 for a drawing of the model; Shiro Kuramata, Tokyo, 2000, fig. 15 for an example of the chair

  • Catalogue Essay

    “This mesh piece expresses a plane that barely holds itself up after all excess parts have been subtracted from a board. This is why people call me a minimalist; but I sometimes also do the very opposite…I’m working out a process of subtracting and multiplying at the same time. The concept of decoration is weak inside me, but, by using mesh that proliferates like a cell within the process of eliminating, I’m discovering my own style of decoration.” - Shiro Kuramata (Hara Museum of Contemporary Art, 1996)

    Shiro Kuramata escaped the Modernist dogma, which plagued other artists of his time, by experimenting with new applications for materials such as steel. The present example of the “How High the Moon” sofa utilizes a rare copper-finished steel mesh which defers the viewer’s perception and alters the presence of the sofa by alternating light and shadow, providing texture and visual interest to its surroundings. This sofa also demonstrates Kuramata’s affection for intersecting planes. By almost eliminating the frame of the sofa, the flat surfaces of the sofa seem to float up against one another, a theme he also explores in his “Glass Chair” and “Acrylic Stool.”

  • 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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How High the Moon

ca. 1986
Copper-plated steel mesh, expanded metal, steel tube. Manufactured by Terada Tekkojo, Japan. From a limited edition of 30. Together with a certificate of authenticity.
29 1/2 x 61 x 31 1/2 in. (74.9 x 154.9 x 80 cm)

£40,000 - 50,000 

Sold for £57,600

Contemporary Art Evening Sale

Evening Sale
13 October 2007, 4pm