An evocative lampshade, reminiscent of an umbrella held aloft with a construction of blackened metal spokes, adorns ‘Chuugi – Devotion’ (Black Hole Lamp) by Studio Wieki Somers. Part of a series of seven lamps collectively named ‘mitate’, in Japanese a word that signifies the perception of an object in a non-habitual way, it’s an essential part of Japanese culture and a cornerstone of ikebana art.
“As we move closer to the collection, the glowing figures become familiar—a familiarity in which we recognize the other.” says Studio Wieki Somers. “This sensation is not conjured by our everyday lives or background, but by our imagination and fascination for the otherness of a foreign culture, which seduces us as well as subdues our judgment. Larger than us, the seven floor lamps united under the name ‘Mitate’ fill and protect the gallery space, acting as flamboyant samurais. In Japanese, ‘mitate’ signifies the perception of an object in a non-habitual way, to contemplate an object as if it were something else in order to renew its meaning and experience.”
“With Mitate, a game is played between the simplicity of the lamps and the sophistication of their Japanese forms, inspired by trips to Japan in 2011 and 2012. From this travel and through research of local craft knowledge, Studio Wieki Somers collected sensations, materials and images.” Each of the light totems in the collection illustrates one of the seven principles of the bushido samurai code of honor, from which they are named; ‘Chuugi – Devotion’ is inspired by the fabric used by geishas to protect the light color of their skin from the harshness of the sun.
‘Mitate’ by Studio Wieki Somers is on display at Galerie Kreo in Paris until September 21, 2013.