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Shiro Kuramata (1934-1991)

No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 15% will be added to the buyer's premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.
On occasion, Christie's has a direct financial interest in lots consigned for sale which may include guaranteeing a minimum price or making an advance to the consignor that is secured solely by consigned property. This is such a lot. This indicates both in cases where Christie's holds the financial interest on its own, and in cases where Christie's has financed all or a part of such interest through a third party. Such third parties generally benefit financially if a guaranteed lot is sold successfully and may incur a loss if the sale is not successful.
The Double Vision collection is the result of two decades of thoughful purchases by two discerning collectors. This European husband-and-wife team have managed to create a group of paintings and objects that show a remarkable overarching consistency in their exploration of the fields of art and design. For much of the Twentieth Century, these two disciplines had kept themselves at arm's length from each other, yet their combination in Double Vision shows a seamless union. New generations of collectors are now becoming attuned to the idea of holistic collecting - Double Vision shows a couple presciently paving the way, decades ahead of the pack. It is a singular and single-minded vision that has resulted in this formidable selection of objects. And this is reflected in the fact that, presenting a unifying arc that remains constant throughout the collection, is its aesthetic, its sense of internal logic and visual cohesion. Many of these pictures and objects are distinguished by a crispness, a lack of clutter, even a dry wit that reverberates through the design objects as well. From Sigmar Polke to Scott Burton, from Robert Indiana to Ron Arad, clean lines echo through this collection, lending it an almost science fiction elegance. There are echoes and affinities throughout the works in Double Vision. The iconography of mass production has informed many of the artists and designers represented here. The silver cladding of Warhol's notorious studio, the Factory, which evoked the silver screen, the chrome gleam of science and technology, the crisp machinery behind the industrial production line finds its counterpart or reincarnation in Newson's 1985 Lockheed Lounge. With its smooth curves, its design looks more influenced by aerodynamics than ergonomics. In the context of the home of these collectors, it appears like a Brancusi sculpture as much as an item of furniture. It condenses the fetishism of technology that has been such a staple during the last half century. This becomes a recurring theme throughout the collection, be it in the smooth shapes and surfaces of the furniture or the content of the pictures. The amphetamines in Ruscha's 1969 oils appear to hail from the same future-minded consumerist society as Warhol's Airmail Stamps. The boldness of Indiana's paintings, which present words and numbers with an authority derived from the visual language of advertising, logos and military insignia are echoed in the succession of words streamed down Ruscha's 1998 Metro, Petro, Neuro, Psycho, which appears like some angry, schizoid succession of burning-neon Broadway signs. The world of celluloid and the mass media is referenced in his The Teepees and Averages just as it is punctured in Polke's works. And the visual language of sublimated desire upon which so much of the modern media and advertising thrives is punctured in Hamilton's Fashion Plate just as it is reconfigured and concentrated to such dramatic effect in Rosenquist's White Lightning. In short, the crisp, clean, chrome world of our and consumerist society is embraced and celebrated in Double Vision, indicatting the march forward toward the promise of advancements. And yet this is done with a great degree of underlying knowingness. For each time that technology is placed on a pedestal, it appears that there is another object willing to topple, mock or puncture the exact same ethos. The upsides and the downsides hang together, presenting us with a never-ending dialogue and critique. Rotella's tattered posters hint at the detritus of our society, Rosenquist's Barb Wire turns a symbol of control of movement, of prison fences and captivity, into a lush and gleaming abstraction. Lichtenstein's Brushstroke Head shows the world of media and of mass production colliding to dramatic effect with the painterly marks of the more traditional artist. Double Vision presents us with precisely that, embracing the celebrations and criticisms in order to present us with a unifying overlook. The equivalency revealed within the context of the content of the works of art is heightened by the presence of the gleaming, shining designed furniture. Photographs of the home in which these works were housed give a sense of looking into the future, while closer inspection reveals that this collection is in fact a barometer of our own moment in time.
Shiro Kuramata (1934-1991)

Miss Blanche

Details
Shiro Kuramata (1934-1991) Miss Blanche acrylic, epoxy-coated aluminium, artificial roses 35¼ x 24½ x 24in. (89.5 x 62.5 x 61cm.) Designed in 1988, executed by Ishimaru Company Ltd., Tokyo, this work is from an edition of fifty-six
Provenance
Pop Around, Collection Pierre Lescure sale, Sotheby's Paris, 27 May 2004, lot 238.
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner.
Literature
M. Aikawa (ed.), Shiro Kuramata, exh. cat., Hara Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, 1996 (other examples illustrated, pp. 39-49, 187 and 192).
A. von Vegesack (ed.), 100 Masterpieces from the Vitra Design Museum Collection, exh. cat., Vitra Design Museum, Weil am Rhein, 1996 (another example illustrated, pp. 204-205).
E. Sottsass, An Exhibition Dedicated to Shiro Kuramata, Domus December 1996 (another example illustrated, pp. 53-56).
Special Notice

No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 15% will be added to the buyer's premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.
On occasion, Christie's has a direct financial interest in lots consigned for sale which may include guaranteeing a minimum price or making an advance to the consignor that is secured solely by consigned property. This is such a lot. This indicates both in cases where Christie's holds the financial interest on its own, and in cases where Christie's has financed all or a part of such interest through a third party. Such third parties generally benefit financially if a guaranteed lot is sold successfully and may incur a loss if the sale is not successful.

Lot Essay

Throughout his career Kuramata experimented with the translucency of materials, dream-inspired forms and altered perceptions of space. This chair, which embodies all three principles, pays hommage to Blanche Dubois, the title figure in Tennessee Williams' play "A Streetcar Named Desire" and is the artist's most poetic design. The floating, artificial roses, suspended in a transparent acrylic seat and frozen in time, poignantly suggest the character's delicate mental state and her imaginary world at a peaceful state, while the colour of the legs reflect her inner turmoil.

This chair model was designed in 1988. The first chair was produced in 1989, with the sponsorship of the Kokuyo Company. Subsequently the chairs were manufactured by Ishimaru Company, Ltd., and were retailed through the Kuramata Design Office. Production of the model concluded in 1998 with the 56th chair, a figure chosen to honour Kuramata who died at the age of 56.

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