Yoichi Ohira is an exceptional figure amongst those contemporary designers who have made glass their medium of expression. His understanding and almost reverence for the tradition and history of glassmaking in Murano, combined with his distinct imagination and Far Eastern aesthetic, situates him as one of the most original and skilled glassmakers.
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 in a small island near Venice, Murano. 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 characteristic 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 in which his elegant interpretation is expressed.
The pieces presented in this sale were collected with enthusiasm and an acute understanding of Ohira’s sensibility and skills by a private collector in Milan, Mrs. Norma Cortellini. When asked about her passion for Yoichi Ohira’s glass, Mrs. Cortellini replied only with a simple sentence: “love at first sight”. No other words are necessary to explain why she started collecting glass made by the Japanese master since his first solo show at Café Florian in Venice in 1996. Ohira’s work combined two passions that Mrs. Cortellini cultivated before encountering his glass: Chinese ceramics and Italian glass. The glass pieces she acquired over the years are expression of Ohira’s unique approach to Italian glass making: forms are inspired by Japanese, Korean and Chinese craft and traditional techniques are reinterpreted with an innovative taste. The vessels in this collection articulate Ohira’s fascination with the distinctive metamorphic qualities of this medium. Glass has been used for centuries to mimic characteristics found in precious stones. Ohira takes this aspect further, creating pieces that evoke the reflection of the water of the canals in Venice (lots 245, 247, 250,254), marble and stone (lot 243, 244) or eggshell and lacquer (lot 246). With other vessels, like Filo Rosso con Finestre (lot 240) or Nostalgia (lot 251), Ohira conveys the tensions between transparency and opacity, interior and exterior through the expert use of a vast array of techniques.
The vessels presented in this selection are a not only a testament to Yoichi Ohira’s remarkable art, but also to the sophisticated taste and appreciation with which Mrs. Norma Cortellini collected them.
PROPERTY FROM AN ITALIAN PRIVATE COLLECTION