Born in Japan, Yoichi Ohira is an exceptional figure amongst those contemporary artists using glass as their medium of expression. His unique approach is a synthesis of forms inspired by Japanese, Korean and Chinese craft and traditional Italian glass techniques reinterpreted with an innovative taste. A fortuitous discovery brought Ohira to Venice in 1973. Having worked as a glassblower in Japan since 1969, Ohira came across a book called ‘Murano’ which illustrated the use of ancient glassmaking techniques on the small island near Venice. Excited and amazed by the fine glass, he moved to Venice and completed a degree in sculpture at the Fine Art Academy, with a dissertation entitled 'The Aesthetic of Glass'. By researching the true identity of Venetian glass and the historical characteristics of the Murano community, Ohira was ready to embark on a journey of experimentation that led to the creation of one-of-a-kind vessels, celebrated today as masterpieces of contemporary glass. Executed in 2005, the present work is an exceptional example from Yoichi Ohira’s celebrated series, Colata di Lava. A small number of Colata di Lava vessels were created by the artist over a two years period in 2004 and 2005. Each unique piece expresses Ohira’s fascination with the distinctive metamorphic qualities of this medium. Glass has been used for centuries to mimic characteristics found in precious stones and, over his career, Ohira created exceptional pieces evoking the reflection of water of the canals in Venice, as well as marble and stone, eggshell and lacquer. This aspect of capturing and reimagining a material through the medium of glass is taken further in this series. The vessel becomes a canvas where the abstract compositions of a powerful natural landscape is formed by the complex mixture of red, orange and deep amethyst glass granules and glass powders to suggest fire, ash and molten lava. This work is almost entirely opaque, evocative of polished obsidian, whilst the colours, typical of Japanese lacquer works, suggest gestural brushstrokes of expressionist art. Statuesque in scale and, therefore, exceptionally complex to achieve technically, the present lot is a testament to Ohira’s superb creativity and ability to create magnificent works of art with the assistance of highly skilled craftsmen.