New exhibit puts gallery in a Spin

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Monday 9 August 2010

A stunning piece of artwork created by one of the world's leading glass artists will go on display at Aberdeen Art Gallery this week.

Spin by Japanese artist Ritsue Mishima, is an outstanding piece of contemporary craft which Aberdeen Art Gallery and Museums curator Kate Gillespie won for the Gallery through nationwide initiative Art Fund Collect.

Spin is a hand-blown, spiralling glass piece is characteristic of Mishima's creations which are often concerned with movement and light.

She formed the vibrant sculpture by spiralling solid canes of hot glass around a blown glass base. This technique creates movement, as if the piece is literally spinning in space. Mishima describes her work as: "originally being conceived as a celestial body, as part of a cosmos, where everything is dynamic, eternally rotating."

Mishima draws inspiration from forms found in nature. Exploring the effects of light she uses transparent, colourless glass to give the sensation of pureness and luminosity. Spin captures and releases light and colour to create harmony within the context it is viewed.

Born in 1962 in Kyoto, Ritsue Mishima executes her highly original designs in collaboration with Murano-based craftsmen.

Kate said: "An acquisition of work by Mishima is significant in the context of our current holdings of Japanese applied art and acts as a reference to our collection of 19th century Venetian glass which was collected by the Aberdeen artist James Cromar Watt (1862- 1940).

"With the Applied Art collection spanning several centuries interpreting the collection by exploring historic and contemporary works of arts in parallel is important.

"I am delighted that Aberdeen Art Gallery and Museums' choice was selected as one of the winners for the high profile Art Fund Collect prize. To be a successful participant for a second year running is quite unbelievable and I am extremely proud to have brought another innovative example of contemporary craft to Scotland for the public to view and enjoy."

Art Fund Collect is an initiative aimed at championing contemporary craft and increasing its presence in UK collections. It is run by membership charity the Art Fund and the Crafts Council, the national development agency for contemporary craft in the UK.

Ahead of private buyers, short-listed curators had one hour to go around the fair and pick an object to acquire on behalf of their museum or gallery. Final selections were submitted to an expert panel of judges, who decided which curators should win a share of the £75,000 funding pot to acquire their chosen object outright.

Last year, Kate walked away from Art Fund Collect with Neckpiece, a beautiful 18 carat gold, enamel and garnet necklace by Umbria-based British jeweller Jacqueline Ryan, acquired for £26,550.