Catalog text by Giovanna Damian
The thousand-year-old history of Venice, its extraordinary artistic rise, the exceptional density of its cultural legacy that stands before the spellbound eyes of the millions of visitors who come every year and who always come back if the can, is a never-ending delight.
For them, for there art lovers and scholars but especially for the artists in a city that is as bewitching as it is seductive, it is an inexhaustible source of inspiration that is not of mere historical value, but continues to be relevant to the present time.
This is expressed in Ritsue Mishima's choice many years ago to elect venice as her permanent residence and the ideal venue for her work and creativity. Sensitive to what this historically cosmopolitan city has to offer, she approaches it with the precious baggage of her cultural education in the Far East, traditionally open to nature, which she captures and elaborates with a personal sensibility in the space and time of the contemporary.
In the exhibition In Grimani, Ritsue Mishima Glass Works, sponsored by this Sovrintendenza in collaboration with the Japanese Foundation as one of the collateral events of the 55th International Art Exhibition, presented in the spaces of the Museum of Palazzo Grimani, the Japanese artist finds unique opportunities in the ancient crafting traditions to create elaborate pieces using the time-honoured techniques that the expert hands of the Murano glass-masters have handed down through the centuries.
Mishima's glass sculptures are generated by transformation of the four natural elements, earth, fire, water, air-light, in an ongoing dialogue between the artist and the artisan that gives from to ideas.
The choice of this material, transparent and permeable to light as it constantly changes throughout the hours of the day and with the change of seasons, is a tribute to the culture of Venice and the lagoon. The works on exhibit at Palazzo Grimani represent yet another step forward in the artist's creative process: the decorations of this aristocratic sixteenth-century residence, which the artist loves so dearly and visits so often, have been a motive for further reflection in her search for formal and emotional harmony with the context in which they will be placed.
This is what we perceive with admiration and gratified wonder as we walk through the monumental spaces of the complex, witnesses to the splendors of the past and the refined cultural circles, that provide the setting for the artist's transparent creations and installations.
Sophisticated and elegant, they borrow formal suggestions and inspiration from the painterly details that cover the walls and ceilings in a intricate growth of flowering greenery, they extract and enhance individual formal elements distinguished by their rhythmic modulation in continuity with the architectural motifs, capture details that are perceived and elaborated in a highly personal language that is coherent with what our senses also capture in a creative process that seems boundless.
The exhibition is accompanied by a selection of photographs by Rinko Kawachi, shown in a dedicated room, which translate into a personal poetic vision the complexity of the creative process in the making of the artistic object.
(From exhibition catalog: Ritsue Mishima, Glass Works, p.5)