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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.

Mafune Gonjo, Beauty has a thorn, 2008

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.

Mafune Gonjo, Beauty has a thorn, 2008

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.

Mafune Gonjo, Beauty has a thorn, 2008

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.

16 Comments Post a comment
  1. CIA, this piece is exquisite. Thank you for sharing all these beautiful images…it wasn’t until I looked at the last one that I understood the structure of the piece: magnificent!

    August 21, 2012
    • Thanks so much Margarita, I am still blown away by this dress every time I see the photos, amazing isn’t it! Good: that’s what I hoped the final photo would reveal, so I am happy to hear that it had the intended effect! Sorry for the slowness replying to comments of late – been a bit hectic around here!

      September 3, 2012
  2. that is fabulous!

    August 22, 2012
  3. Sue Spicer #

    Oh I must go and view this!!

    August 24, 2012
  4. That is just exquisite – it takes my breath away…

    August 28, 2012
    • Glad to hear you liked this so much! Sorry I have been MIA on the comments – I know I have many overdue replies owing to you! Things have been a bit hectic – but I am slowly catching up, so you’ll be hearing from me 🙂 Hope things are continuing to go well with you!

      September 3, 2012
      • No problem – have been struggling to keep on top of things myself. Happy Adventuring!

        September 4, 2012
  5. This is so beautiful….. !

    September 4, 2012
    • I think the thing that still catches us is how it continues to amaze and inspire us, months after we saw it. I hope it finds a place in a gallery sometime, somewhere!

      September 24, 2012
  6. Nienke Verhoeks #

    Dress to re-marry in?

    Sidenote: with PJD ofcourse 😉

    September 5, 2012
    • I am not sure I approve of CIA remarrying in such a sharp and pointy thing! But it is tremendously beautiful, I agree.

      September 24, 2012
  7. Wow that is really ethereal and..dangerous with that glass up close. Says something about marriage? –to be handled carefully!!!!

    November 15, 2012
    • The dress was breath-takingly beautiful, and yes, ethereal too! As for a comment on marriage, it could well be so! I should hope that most marriages are a little less sharp than broken glass though…

      November 17, 2012

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