With her delicate use of colour, Kazuyo Nomura (b. 1955) has given artis tic expression to the restaurant at the law courts in the Wrangel Palace in Stockholm. She has designed a room that is intended to provide a peaceful interlude in the working day for the staff and visitors in the ancient building. And she has accomplished this with the same naturalness that is characteristic of most of her woven items. These have, rightly, won recognition both at home in Sweden and at venues far across the globe. I visit her studio in Gothenburg and find myself in a room full of textile experiments, drawings and models. Thread systems are visible, a loom and other utensils. Everything is carefully ordered. Just as in her own textiles. There are no traces of irrational elements. Kazuyo Nomura’s familiarity with techniques of weaving is based on a long and intensive study of textile design. She has successfully taken part in various advanced projects pertaining to the history of textiles and in that way has developed an expertise that she uses in her own creative work. Her mastery seems to be based on an insight into what is specific to the thread; what it really communicates.
The thread plays an important part in the history of our cultural development. It has been with us for millennia and seems an entirely natural part of our daily lives. Almost no one today thinks how remarkable it is that fibres can be joined together to provide us with essential everyday items but also items that are strikingly beautiful. The three-dimensionality of the thread is also remarkable. Even the finest sewing thread has volume and can cast a shadow. The structures of woven fabrics arise in the patterns that develop as the threads intersect and light and shade create various types of interplay.
In her work Reflektion (Reflection) this insight into the thread as a body together with the artist’s wide knowledge and experience has been of great value. The circular form of the room creates acoustic problems and textile materials are helpful. Kazuyo Nomura has looked very closely at the prob lems. She has studied the possibilities and has even managed to solve some of the lighting problems through combining fixtures. Further, sound-absorbent elements have been skilfully and elegantly intergrated into the textile installation. The composition consists of three parts. Himlavalv (Celestial vault) is a ring-shaped element that hangs from the ceiling around a central pillar. The two other parts, Reflex 1 and 2 are flat panels embroidered with sequins hung on the walls. Himlavalv, in various nuances of white, has been draped in wave forms on a metal-ring construction. The pieces of fabric consists of fine, hand-woven lengths of different grades of linen yarns. The thicker threads create a relief to the fabric, the textures providing variation for the eye. The two, sequined panels catch the light that enters through the small windows and reflect it into the room. Impressions of water, clouds, snow and greenery are thus spread to the interior, varying according to the weather and the season. The embroidered panels differ in colour. Reflex 1 has a pale , blue-green ground, densely covered with semi-transparent orange-coloured sequins.
The artist’s Japanese background makes itself felt in her work for the Wrangel Palace. One perceive whispers and echoes from the Far East, from its ideal of interior design and its forms. A famous Japanese essay of the 1930s, In Praise of Shadows by Junichiro Tanizaki, affords insights and ideas about the Japanese room. It teaches us a great deal about the interior, with alcoves, sliding screens and similar arrangements that regulate light and shade in different ways. Kazuyo Nomura communicates these insights in her art. Her textile art for the old “gun room” of the Wrangel Palace has helped to convert the space into an attractive modern dining room. Somebody suggested that the room gave associations to balloon travel, to sitting in an aerial gondola. In that case it has both taken off and landed successfully.