Finally I had the chance to find MAME Milano, a tiny, cozy shop, where big projects come to life. A place for orientalist collectors, where architects and designers can practice with workshops and find inspiration. The owner, L. C. just opened few weeks ago and together with her partner, through a solid experience in decoration of ambience, can manage to decorate your house, restaurant, office and other ambience.
In MAME you can also find inspiration for your own projects: there is a display of many hand crafted furniture and arwork collections with a peculiar style from Asia. MAME is a hub where every arts’ seeker will feed its passion.
You can find accesories and rare pieces from China, statues and ceramics from Thailand and paintings from Japan as well.
Check the gallery below:
MAME is in downtown Milan, Italy, in Via Pier Capponi 4 very near subway station Wagner of the red line.
In the heart of Thailand there rises Lampang, a small city of 50,000 people famous for ceramics.
The land is rich of kaolinite, a white stone that once crushed and made in powder, is important to create the amazing ceramics as rice bowls, plates, vases, jars and sauce dispensers.
I have been there to visit the city and try the amazing coffee of the region, there I found out that Indra ceramics and other factories have actively produced for almost 90 years ceramics.
Once a small family business brought by a Chinese family, now they are the biggest producers of articles for tableware and hospitality business.
Symbol of the city is the running rooster, a bird you will find depicted in many places. Take time to visit this beautiful hidden paradise.
On October the 1st the “Flash of Lightining” exposition will start at Museo di Castelvecchio, Verona. The Japanese artist Tetsuya Nakamura will introduce its artworks created through a mix of steel and light illusions.
The exposition will last until November 27th, 2011 and will be open everyday from 8.30 to 19.30, except for Monday: 13.30-19.30.
Kwan Young Kim graduated from Metal Art and Design at Hongik University of Seul, now, in Italy, he studies at Brera where he is mastering painting.
He has not abandoned his passion for sculpture, but he could not find a laboratory where he can work with a big amount of metal, and, basically, a compliant neighbourhood that tolerates the noise Metal Design requires, is hard to find!
He shows me several drafts of wonderful abstract figures. If only this guy had the chance to have his own laboratory!
However his paintings are very interesting as his sculptures.
They bring his signature, and you can tell that the identity of the artist is clearly visible in both.
The conceptual art of Kwan Young denotes his style and Memory is the thread of his work. He explains to me when he has started his new era of art:
“As my mother started suffering from Alzheimer, I begun to think carefully about Mind and Memory. When I show her my paintings with the bright colors and the shapes I draw, I hope she will recall some memory of her life”.
Kwan Young’s sculptures and paintings are characterized by abstract shapes standing up in a fragile balance. Although they seem they are about to fall off suddenly, they stand still.
In the same way, our memory and mind make up thoughts and build reality from dreams and viceversa, Kwan Young’s art is made to turn our conception of the world upside down.
He keeps working and sturying at new artworks, and I believe we will see an exhibition of him very soon.
Writing articles about Asian artists and influences their works might have gotten by living in Europe, have made a question to rise from a dear friend of mine. He asked me few days ago: “Have you ever thought of writing a piece about Japanese- Brazilian artists?”.
His point stroke me clearly and I thank him for this, because I cannot find myself speaking of fusion of Eastern and Western arts, forgetting of the emblematic example of Brazil and its very strong bind with the Far East.
Not everyone knows that Japanese community in Brazil is one of the most prosperous. The emigration to Brazil has a non typical characteristic; in fact it was prompted and financed by the Japanese government in agreement with the hosting Southern American country.
The project set by the Japanese and Brazilian governments allowed the Kasato Maru, a ship full of 781 “willing” immigrants, to sail from Tokyo in 1907 and leave to reach Rio almost a year later. The integration of the new territory was hard, but the new born Brazilian citizens has become an important and inseparable factor for the wealth of the country until today.
Speaking of art, the mix of vitality and colorful character of the Brazilian culture and the Japanese traditional mark, usually very coriaceous to fade away in an external hosting culture, has generated a distinctive melting pot that anyone who had the chance to pass by São Paulo can touch by his own hands.
An author, a “Maestro” of painting , scultping and engraving, who can easily be brought as an example of this, is Tomie Ohtake (1913), a Japanese immigrant who stands out for her contribution to the Brazilian culture.
She had to wait until she was in her forties to let the flower of art flourishing from her spirit, but this doesn’t mean that her art was the calm and unruffled one of a mother of two kids; on the contrary, she is an energetic and powerful artist even if she is 98 years old! As you can see from the pictures of her paintings and sculptures, I put up on this page, her artistic identity is assessed by warm colors and pure geometric lines that are bent together in clear shapes. As she said in an interview speaking about her feelings about Japan and Brazil: “As diferenças estabelecem semelhanças, o contraste è o elo”, (differences determine similarities and contrast is the link).
I believe that we cannot talk about Asian influences in Europe without peeking through the industrious melting pot of Brazil.
Sichun Kim was born the 10th of November 1980 in Seul, Korea. He has started sculpting at the University of Arts of Kookmin, near Seul in 1999. The passion for figurative arts has sprung since he was in highschool: “I used to drawing in highschool, but as soon as I started my university course, I realized that, rather than drawings on a flat paper, I would love to create something from an unshaped mass of material”.
The majority of his artworks are made from clay, copper, steel, but also plastic and resin. He likes to melt different materials together in order to give shape to his creativity. One of his favourite works was the one he made for the thesis of undergraduate. It is called “Lost Violin” (2007) and it represents himself, playing a violin, an instrument he would have loved to learn since he was a child. This sculpture is a realistic and basic image of a man playing, but the composition itself is a complex creation of a number of different materials: the body is cast in steel, the head and the hands are of plastic and the violin is a complicated mix of pink murple and nylon (for the strings).
“It’s exhausting to cast a figure from steel or to shape it from murple and put the parts all together: but I feel good when I’m done: I feel myself accomplished”.
Lately, after joining a MA (Master of Arts) Sichun is shifting his interests from realistic subjects to more conceptual ones. The main work of this new feeling is a sculpture representing a wave formed by the constant repetition of five different patterns (40 x 40cm.) aligned over and over in order to make the audience aware of how repetitional patterns are present in our daily life.
“I was influenced by the famous “Big Wave off Kanagawa” of Katsuhika Hokusai (1820s).”.
Sichun has just completed a semester at the University of Huddersfield near Manchester, UK, where he has experienced the use of computer graphic to produce his latest work. This installation, of 2010, is a group of columns, projected through a new technology, and made of cardboard, colorful threads and pictures of the capitals of a church in York, UK.
“The environment I live in is fundamental for my art: I am very much influenced by it and it feeds my creativity. I would not be able to make art without a real experience”.
Today Sichun is planning to move to New York and he looks forward to making new experiences for his art and to meeting with new differents artists from around the world.
Hansam Kim is a young Korean scupltress who was born in 1982 in Pusan, the second largest metropolis of the South Korea. We meet for the first time in a café near via Fiori Chiari, a place which is well reknown for its artistic activities. While we are talking, I call her “an artist” or “a sculptress”, but Hansam corrects me immediately because she is rather consider herself humbly “a student of sculpture”. Yet her curriculum of studies and her ability would make her qualified as a proper artist without any doubt.
I interview her while she’s working on cube of clay and I notice how many schoolmates of her stop to watch her sculpting technique, trying to get some secret from her skillful hands.
Hansam explains: “When I had to prepare the entrance to the University in Korea, the teachers use to train students pulling up an envelope containing the assignement of the day. We had four hours to develope our work, and after a break, the next envelope was opened for the training of the afternoon and then again with a third one for the evening. I needed to be fast and precise. We would stay at school from 9 a.m. up to 10 p.m. every day for two months. I believe that I learned and developped my personal techinques during those two months”.
Hansam studied at the Ulsan’s School of Art, where she graduated in 2000, and then, following her passione for visual arts she joined the Kookmin’s University of Art where she got her degree in 2005.
During the years of highschool in Ulsan, a teacher pushed her to put her efforts in sculpting, realizing the great skills in the reproductions of small details of the objects shown during the class to be copied by students.
“During a drawing lesson, when my teacher realized that I was lefthanded, he told me to apply for sculpture. He explained to me that a lefthanded person use the right side of the brain; the one set for analytical and logical tasks, like maths and reproducing geometrical images. From that day on, I have started to put all of my efforts in the tridimensional creations and I left behind other figurative arts.”.
That good advice has paid off few years later, in fact, just after her graduation from University, some of the works of Hansam were chosen for a collective exposition in a gallery of up-and-coming young artists. Hansam in subsequent years has participated in numerous art exhibitions related to the circle of artists of her university.
One of the installations of this young sculptress, which first drew great attention and is assessed by positive reviews, is an installation displayed in Seoul in 2005, representing a metal cube surrounded by a group of floating skulls embedded with a mosaic glass.
The group of shining skulls recalls in the minds of us Westerners, the most famous “For the Love of God“, the human skull in platinum diamond-encrusted made by Damien Hirst, which made its public appearance in June 2007.
“Each time I show my book, anyone seeing my installation with the skulls of gleaming glass, points out on how I was inspired by Hirst” Hansam tells me, almost like an embarrassing secret to confess. Yet her tone of despair is understandable as the result of its creation is given every time to the mere copy instead of an artistic work born by her creativity.
“My installation dates back to 2005, two years before Hirst’s skull made its appearance”.
Those two works recall clearly each other: it is undeniable.
Hansam tells me the reason of choosing to shape those skulls:
“The profile of a human skull seems to smile. I wanted to flip the negative feelings it conveys, turning it into something bright and irreverent, which is no longer scaring”.
Today Hansam is graduating at the Milan’s Brera Academy of Art, after a specialized course of four years, but surprisingly she plans to move to fashion to explore an artistic dimension that is more likely to pay back, compared to that of sculpture.
Wherever the love for art will lead her, I bet she will take with her the wealth of technical expertise and creativity that until now has characterized her work.