A sparkling piece of Slow Art
If you have already read my post from yesterday, you will know that Slow Art at the Nationalmuseum in Stockholm made a huge impression on both of us. I promised that today I would share with you the piece from the Slow Art exhibition that really stole the show for me. In fact, I think Mafune Gonjo‘s Beauty has a thorn is the most beautiful and innovative piece of sculpture I have ever seen.
As soon as I came around the corner and saw this dress – unlike any other dress I have ever laid eyes on before – I was pretty much running towards it. Okay, okay, gallery etiquette might have got the better of me and I stopped myself from running, but superfastwalking was definitely involved. A dress constructed out of glass and wire? Could this be? Yes. Yes it could. I found the shape, construction and presentation simply stunning.
Hung on a coat hanger and suspended from the ceiling, the dress naturally slowly moved in the air. Beauty has a thorn enchanted me most with its shimmering surface and the sparkling patterns cast on the ground and wall as the light refracted through the glass pieces with the gentle movement.
The dress struck me as fit for a princess, with its otherworldly, ethereal quality.
Beauty has a thorn is all at once strong and tough in the materials it is made from – much harder than the materials that a dress would normally be made from – and delicate and fragile at the same time. Perhaps the piece is intended to be a commentary on the role that beauty and image plays in our modern society – I can’t help but thinking that the title encourages this reading. However, even if beauty has a thorn, standing in front of this dress, I could only see beauty.
I would love to see more of this talented Japanese artist’s work in galleries and public spaces in the future. But for now, Beauty has a thorn will be an inspiring image to which I will return to in my imagination, again and again.
Photos by CIA of Beauty has a thorn by Mafune Gonjo, Slow Art, Nationalmuseum, Stockholm, July 2012.