ELEKTRUM

The desire to give a new expression to Japanese lacquer technology led me to develop a new characteristic of Japanese lacquer - full of contrasts and yet in aesthetic harmony: tradition and modernity, Europe and Asia, stainless steel and Japanese lacquer, forging art and lacquer technology - all of these supposed contrasts enter into a fascinating synthesis and modern interpretation of Japanese lacquer in my new collection.

Through the combination of grinding techniques on stainless steel with different qualities of Japanese lacquer and their colour characteristics, an intensity in colour and depth has been created that is unique in its kind. The stainless steel vessels are forged purely by hand by Ruprecht Holsten. He has the ability to create a "living vessel" under his hands. The matt dark outside still shows the texture of the hammer. The objects are offered in a limited edition in three sizes.

LAMY

Magically captured in time:
the LAMY dialog urushi edition


Urushi is a material full of contrasts. This natural lacquer which has been used in East Asian arts and crafts for millennia is distinguished by its exceptional sheen and unique depth of colour which is created through the application of many, very thin layers. The LAMY dialog urushi edition which is limited to 33 sets captures the fascination of this characterful material in a unique tetralogy.

Each of the 33 sets includes four elegantly finished fountain pens – four interpretations of the LAMY dialog 3. The guiding theme of the LAMY dialog urushi edition is a subject which is as timeless as it is universal: the four seasons with their own individual moods. Spring, summer, autumn and winter as the symbol for the eternal cycle of life.

Manfred Schmid, born in Bremen in 1958, has been interested very early in Japanese culture. He started his professional Career in another demanding craft profession, the marquetry. In this area he was 10 years self-employed, when he decided to study Japanese lacquer techniques in Barcelona. At the Escola Massana and the Escola Llotja he laid the foundation for his current profession. From 1998 to 2004 Manfred Schmid learned and perfected urushi lacquer art in his studio in Barcelona. Since 2004 he lives and works back in his hometown of Bremen. From here, he has perfected his work, and participated in national and international exhibitions in the USA, Japan, Spain and Germany

Die japanische Kunst hat über Jahrtausende vieles hervorgebracht, was man im Westen schätzte weil es eigenständig war, von den Materialien und den Formen, oft geprägt von schlichter Eleganz und unaufdringlicher Schönheit. Vieles hat auch die westliche Kunst beeinflusst, vieles konnte trotz intensiver Bemühungen nicht kopiert werden. Es gibt auch einen Ausdruck in der japanischen Sprache, den man nicht übersetzen kann, der in einem Wort eine ganze Philosophie in der gestalterischen Umsetzung widerspiegelt: shibui. Man kann sagen shibui steht für Schlichtheit, für Eleganz, für unaufdringliche Schönheit, für japanische Ästhetik. Oder man sagt einfach shibui steht für etwas Vollkommenes, über das man nicht erst nachdenken muss, etwas das als angenehm wahrgenommen und akzeptiert wird.

Was hat uns Japan in seiner Tradition ebenso gelehrt? Die Perfektion, den Willen und die Geduld in der Umsetzung handwerklicher Fähigkeiten. Man stelle sich den Moment vor, in dem die schwarze Tusche eines Pinsels das weiße Papier berührt: das Schriftzeichen muss unmittelbar und perfekt umgesetzt werden, es gibt kein zurück und keine Korrektur. Man muss eben perfekt sein in dem was man tut. Manfred Schmid hat sich dieser Perfektion verschrieben. Er arbeitet mit einem Material, dessen schwer kalkulierbare Natürlichkeit ein Miteinander erfordert, wie es bei kaum einem anderen Werkstoff erforderlich ist. Urushi, der Saft des japanischen Lackbaumes, lässt sich nur mühsam und mit viel Geduld verarbeiten. Ein Material, dessen Eigenschaften oder dessen Eigensinn eine Symbiose erfordert, die man als Lackkünstler mit dem Material eingehen muss, man muss sich miteinander verständigen können.

Tapped from the lacquer tree and refined in various ways, Japanese lacquer is applied in wafer-thin layers over a long period of time. It does not dry; it hardens slowly under the influence of a highly humid atmosphere. It hardens while remaining flexible nevertheless. It has a cool appearance and yet it is pleasant to the touch. Building up the layers of lacquer is a complex process. One could liken its structure to that of the human body and the way it is made up of bones, flesh and skin. In the case of lacquerwork, what one sees is the skin; one looks at the surface. But the surface can only be as good as the foundation, like bones in the form of substrates and flesh in the form of primer coats. Patience and precision are the indispensible prerequisites for the success of the work as a whole.

Eine schnelle oder unkonzentrierte Vorgehensweise rächt sich meistens erst ganz am Ende in Form einer unschönen Haut. Das Grundprinzip beruht auf einer zur Oberfläche hin immer feineren Struktur der Schichten bis zur endgültigen Versiegelung in den letzten Politurschritten. Ursprünglich seit Jahrtausenden als Schutzüberzug verwendet, entwickelte sich urushi sehr schnell zu einem Dekormaterial von einer überraschenden Vielfalt. Das im japanischen Lackbaum befindliche Enzym Laccase verleiht dem Lack Eigenschaften, welche ihn weit über den Härtegraden anderer Lacke stehen lässt. Dies ermöglichte die Entwicklung der für Japan typischen Einstreutechniken in Edelmetallen oder Perlmutt, bei welchen das Lackmaterial mindesten so hart sein muss wie das eingestreute Material.

Als traditionelle Grundfarben gelten der Schwarz- und der Rotlack, wie er auch noch heute bei zahlreichen japanischen Utensilien Verwendung findet. Manfred Schmid hat sich vor allem dem tiefen Schwarz verschrieben, der Grundfarbe in ihrer Tiefe, ihrer Brillanz, ihrer Schönheit. Der Schwarzlack wird durch die Beimischung von Eisenfeilspänen hergestellt. Das Eisen löst eine chemische Reaktion und die Verfärbung des Lackes aus, aus welchem anschließend die Späne gefiltert werden. Hierdurch entsteht eine Material von einer scheinbar unendlichen Tiefe, in welchem sich keine Pigmente befinden. Durch diesen Umstand ist es möglich, durch mehrfachen hauchdünnen Auftrag eine Dichte und Tiefe im Material zu erzielen, welche häufig an Glas erinnert.

When processing Japanese lacquer, manual labor is also necessary but it entails quite a gentle manner of implementation. The wafer-thin layers are applied with brushes made of human hair, then sanded with natural charcoal and polished using leather and oil. Japanese lacquering masters like to polish the final layer with the skin of their fingers or the ball of the hand, which is viewed as the finest structure and a personal investment on the part of the artist. In the production of lacquer objects, immediate contact between the artist’s skin, the material and the individual layers renders a unity between the form, the raw material and the human being engaged in the process. This unity also reflects itself in the forms of objects produced by Manfred Schmid.

Diese Einheit spiegelt sich auch in den Formen der Objekte von Manfred Schmid. Es sind eigentlich Gegenstände wie man sie als Nutzobjekte kennt, umgesetzt als solitäre Kunstobjekte von eigener Kraft und Aussage, Objekte die man anfassen und auch benutzen sollte, aus Respekt vor der Perfektion oder auch schlicht aus Angst vor Beschädigungen als Skulpturen versteht und positioniert. Manfred Schmid spielt mit den Materialien und Formen. Er verbindet das tiefe Schwarz mit Silber, das glänzende Schwarz mit dem Matten, bindet in der Oberfläche strukturiertes  Rot mit ein, oder kombiniert die Lackoberflächen mit einer sichtbaren Holzstruktur. Optische Zusammenspiele, die sich konsequent an der Schlichtheit der Objekte orientiert, die keinen Raum für gestalterische Spielereien lassen, die in ihrer Formensprache ruhen, den Betrachter aber animieren sich mit den Reflexen und visuellen Lichtspielen auseinanderzusetzen.

Die Partner von Manfred Schmid sind ebenfalls Perfektionisten in ihren eigenen Fachgebieten. Auch hier geht er eine Symbiose ein, die sich konsequent durch sein gesamtes Schaffen zieht. Er hat sich in vielen Jahren der mühsamen Arbeit, des mentalen Erklimmens des Berges Fuji, ein handwerkliches und künstlerisches Niveau erschaffen, das selbst in Japan seines gleichen sucht. Er ließ sich nie beeinflussen, er ging seinen eigenen Weg durch Höhen und Tiefen. Und er wird seinen Weg weiter gehen, im Stil der japanischen Tradition und mit japanischem Handwerk, aber in seiner eigenen Formensprache und mit seiner eigenen Signatur, welche jedes Objekt zu einem Unikat werden lässt und jenen Begriff wiederspiegelt, den man auf sein gesamtes Oeuvre anwenden darf – shibui.

Günther Heckmann

  • Auguste Papendiek Preis der Sparkasse in Bremen 2012
  • Sonderpreis der Ishikawa International Urushi Exhibition 2009
    “Hideo Nakashima Award”, Kanazawa, Japan
  • Justus Brinckmann Preis ’08, Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg
  • Bayerischer Staatspreis ’07 für herausragende Leistungen in Innovation
    und Gestaltung von japanischen Lackobjekten (IHM München)
  • Nominierung für den Auguste Papendiekpreis ’06, Bremen
  • Form 2003, Tendence Lifestyle, Frankfurt, Main
  • Stipendium der Carl Duisberg Gesellschaft für japanische
    Lacktechnik an der Escola Massana in Barcelona, Spanien
  • Sonderausstellung “Meister der Moderne”, München
  • Dimensionen, Große Gefäße, Galerie Handwerk, München
  • Kunstmesse München
  • Ishikawa International Urushi Exhibition 2009
  • Sonderausstellung „Japanese Laquerware“ im Ritz Carlton Miami, USA
  • Galerie Bells oficis, Barcelona, Spanien
  • Sonderausstellung “Form 2003” Tendence Lifestyle, Frankfurt, Main
  • “Portrait” Bayerischer Kunstgewerbeverein, München
  • Grassimuseum, Museum für Angewandte Kunst, Leipzig
  • Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe, Hamburg
  • Staatliche Kunstsammlungen, Schloss Pillnitz Dresden
   
  • Grassimuseum, Museum für Angewandte Kunst, Leipzig
  • Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden
  • Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe, Hamburg
  • Museum für Lackkunst, Münster
  • Grassimuseum, Museum für Angewandte Kunst, Leipzig
  • Grassimuseum, Museum für Angewandte Kunst, Leipzig
  • Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe, Hamburg

PRESS

PORTFOLIO

Die Objek­te der Rei­he „Reli­gio“ wur­den in der kans­hitsu-Tech­nik, einer Tex­til­ver­kle­bungs­tech­nik gefer­tigt. Es han­delt sich hier­bei um eine sehr alte tra­di­tio­nel­le Lack­tech­nik zur Her­stel­lung von Grund­kör­pern (Inro, Scha­len für Spei­sen, Rüs­tun­gen der Samu­rai etc.). Reli­gio bedeu­tet Rück­bin­dung an den Ursprung. Ich arbei­te mit die­ser Tech­nik los­ge­löst von tra­di­tio­nel­len japa­ni­schen Gestal­tungs­prin­zi­pi­en. Die­se Gefä­ße, mit denen ich neue Wege im Aus­druck mit uru­shi beschrei­te, las­sen Raum für Asso­zia­tio­nen. Es sind Gefä­ße ganz ohne Ver­klei­dung, direkt, unmit­tel­bar, ursprüng­lich und kraft­voll.

„A trea­su­re chest for prin­ces and kings“

The desi­re to design a cabi­net which bor­rows on a rich tra­di­ti­on esta­blished during the reign of Augus­tus the Strong by Mar­tin Schnell and his lac­que­red fur­ni­tu­re craf­ted in Dres­den has final­ly been ful­fil­led after several years of deve­lop­ment thanks to the Ger­man Work­shops in Hel­lerau, with whom I col­la­bo­ra­ted clo­se­ly to pro­du­ce this object. The inte­ri­or of each pie­ce is manu­fac­tu­red indi­vi­dual­ly using a dif­fe­rent type of wood. This ren­ders each pie­ce a uni­cum world­wi­de. The efforts requi­red to exe­cu­te such a pro­ject are enor­mous and they would not have been pos­si­ble without the coope­ra­ti­on of the Ger­man Work­shops. All metal fit­tings requi­red for the cabi­net such as ball bea­rings, sus­pen­si­ons, door moun­tings etc. were custom-desi­gned and tested on a pro­to­ty­pe befo­re being manu­fac­tu­red in their final form for the cabi­net. The basic idea was to imple­ment this his­to­ric fur­ni­tu­re tra­di­ti­on in a con­tem­pora­neous fashion. In addres­sing this chal­len­ge, we were not only delight­ed to be employ­ing an anci­ent tech­ni­que in our use of Japa­ne­se lac­quer but also to be drawing on old tra­di­ti­ons from the Baro­que and Renais­sance peri­ods through acqui­si­ti­on of a veneer made of Hun­ga­ri­an flower ash. This wood was used in tho­se times to ennoble cabi­nets, cas­kets and other objects meant for kings. It is very dif­fi­cult to pro­cu­re, howe­ver, espe­ci­al­ly in the width requi­red for our cabi­net. We were real­ly lucky to find a sui­ta­ble amount at a veneer dealer’s shop near Würz­burg. During the manu­fac­tu­ring pro­cess, 2 of the 3 she­ets were rui­ned; thank God the third one stay­ed intact. In cases of such extre­me cur­vat­u­re like the kind which you find in this cabi­net, use of such britt­le, wavy-grain veneer brings you to the limits of what is even pos­si­ble. The sec­tions for which app­li­ca­ti­on of Japa­ne­se lac­quer was envi­sa­ged were sub­jec­ted to spe­cial cli­ma­te tests to find a sui­ta­ble, non-defor­ming mate­ri­al which could with­stand the high humi­di­ty requi­red by Japa­ne­se lac­quer while it sets. The lac­quer, glos­sy on the out­side and app­lied using struc­tu­ring tech­ni­que on the insi­de, posed a gre­at chal­len­ge due to the size of the sur­faces. Thus we are all the more delight­ed to be able to pre­sent this cabi­net to you now.

CONTACT

Manfred Schmid
Parkstraße 53
D-28209 Bremen
mobil +49 (0) 176 – 22 17 37 52
info@urushi.de

Manfred Schmid
Parkstraße 53
28209 Bremenmobil +49 (0) 176 – 22 17 37 52
info@urushi.de

Fotos Lamy: Tillmann Franzen
Fotos: Matthias Hornung
Objektfotos: Manfred Schmid

Umsatzsteuer-Id.-Nr.: DE 220862557
inhaltlich Verantwortlicher: Manfred Schmid

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Parkstraße 53
D-28209 Bremen

mobil +49 (0) 176 – 22 17 37 52
info@urushi.de

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