exhibition archive

Shin Azumi and Norman McLaren

16.05.07 - 16.06.07

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An Exploration of the connection between the late Scottish-Canadian animator and the Japanese furniture and product designer

curated by Jane Won

This new exhibition explores the intriguing associations between the work of Scottish-Canadian animator Norman McLaren (1914-1987) and British-based Japanese designer Shin Azumi (1965-).

Norman McLaren is one of the most respected animator/filmmakers in the history of experimental cinema. His expansive filmography demonstrates multi-faceted ways of thinking in its inventiveness, passion for dance and music, and interest in surrealism and contemporary art. He used film to record images, but also as a canvas, experimenting with etching, drawing and painting directly on filmstrip.

Shin Azumi constantly experiments with new concepts and solutions across the fields of product, furniture and spatial design. His functional yet playful approach to design is a reflection of his philosophy and personality. The end results are often simple in form, with only their essence heightened to serve the physical functionality of the object. Psychological function in design is equally important, resulting in his witty interpretations of everyday activities. He talks of a diverse range of influences from the works of McLaren, Oskar Schlemmer, Robert Lepage's theatre productions, Shuntaro Tanikawa's poems and Masayuki Izumi's comics. For Azumi, Norman McLaren is one of the few artists to have achieved a balance in creating entertaining work that is also experimental and conceptual.

Azumi's FlowLounge (2006) is a new series of office furniture shown here for the first time in Europe. Its inspiration derives from the garden, conceptually bringing the outside into an interior space, creating a flexible and light atmosphere. Shower of Light (2006) also plays with our imagination and encourages a unique spatial experience. Azumi's designs, together with McLaren's films, transform Chelsea space into a fluid space of outside, inside, up and down.

Norman McLaren started making films in the early 1930s at the Glasgow School of Fine Arts after becoming acquainted with works by the legendary Russian filmmaker Sergei Eisenstein and the German animator Oskar Fischinger. After graduating he joined the General Post Office Film Unit (GPOFU) in London under John Grierson. After a brief stay in New York at the start of the Second World War, he was invited by Grierson to put together the National Film Board (NFB) of Canada's animation team. He created an impressive body of work at the NFB and received numerous awards, including an Oscar for Neighbours (1952) and a Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival for Blinkity Blank (1955).

Shin Azumi was born and raised in Japan. He studied at the Royal College of Art in the UK, and in the mid-1990s set up a London studio with his associate Tomoko Azumi. In 2005 Shin Azumi set up a new solo practice, a studio. His works are widely recognized in Europe and have been exhibited in such prestigious venues as the Design Museum in the UK, the Vitra Design Museum in Germany and the Stedelijk Museum in the Netherlands.

'Observation + Distillation, Fun + Function, Interactivity + Theatricality'. (Shin Azumi)


For further information please contact Jane Won on janewonlondon@googlemail.com


External link :
Curator Jane Won talks to Vernissage TV about the exhibition


Supported by :

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elmes logo kirin logo clearspring logo
eat japan logo    





installation view

Installation view

McLaren - Blinkity Blank

Norman McLaren  Blinkity Blank

McLaren -Le Merle

Norman McLaren  Le Merle

Azumi Sketch

Shin Azumi  drawing for Snowman