Tracing the Interplay of Light and Glass

Japan Suite Ritsue Mishima

Fall art season kicked off in New York City, and over the next few weeks our blog will spotlight some of the most innovative and consequential shows featuring Japanese artists.


First, we’d like to report on Lumina, Ritsue Mishima’s first solo show in the city. Born in Kyota in 1962, Mishima moved to Venice, Italy in 1989 and now splits her time between the two cities. Her quest to find the perfect vase for a flower installation led her to Italy, where she began to experiment with glassblowing herself. Ritsue’s large, heavy vessels translate colorful Murano traditions into a contemporary and uniquely Japanese aesthetic that features bold, colorless glass objects.

Collaborating with Venetian master craftsmen, Ritsue weds thousand-year-old glassmaking techniques with a modern sensibility that emphasizes spontaneity. She does not plan or design her sculptures ahead of time. Instead, she creates clay models that are transformed into sculptures by Venetian craftsmen.

This collaboration results in intuitive, abstract, and energetic forms that allow her to trace the ephemeral interplay between light and glass. Her installations are carefully designed to showcase the interactions between her objects and the environments in which they are placed. More than anything else, Ritsue treasures her collaboration with the glassblowers. In her words, “I’ve learned the unpredictability about glass making from the craftsman, and I taught them to dare to take the creation to the extreme.”