DETAIL: Toots ZYNSKY 'Pennellata' 2004, 'Filet de Verre' fused and thermoformed colour glass threads
Tsukasa KOFUSHIWAKI | Propeller

Japan 1961
Propeller 2003
'urushi' lacquer
134.0 (h) x 100.0 (w) x 100.0 (d) cm
Lent by Tsukasa Kofushiwaki
© Kofushiwaki

The fluidity of natural lacquer – the collected sap of the rhus tree – and the pliability of woven hemp cloth contribute to the character of Tsukasa Kofushiwaki’s urushi lacquer objects. In Propeller his imagery seems at first a curious subject for this refined material but, presented as a tattered fragment, we are reminded that powered flight was first achieved in flimsy craft of carved wood and stretched, doped or lacquered fabric. The traditional techniques of urushi involve building layer upon layer of resinous materials on wood, basketry or woven fabric structures, followed by arduous sanding and polishing to achieve its traditional solidity, glossiness and depth of colour. Kofushiwaki stops well short of these finalities, allowing us to see the structure’s skeleton beneath its lacquer skin and, in the case of the propeller, to dream again of its ability to lift us above the trees from which it came.

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