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"Ritsue Mishima was born in Kyoto, Japan in 1962. She worked as a stylist in advertising and with interior design magazines, eventually focusing on floral installations. In 1996, after moving to Venice, Italy, she began working with glass and collaborating with murano craftsmen. Mishima was the first recipient of the Giorgio Armani prize for best artist at Sotheby's contemporary decorative arts exhibition in London in 2001. Two years later, she attracted attention with her striking installation at the Milano Salone. Mishima was recently included in the 2009 Venice biennial, which deemed her one of the "most interesting artists on the international glass scene". Combining the craft of local glassblowers, minerals and fire, Mishima forms glass in a race against time, pulling everything together and growing shapes from the inside out. She looks to the natural world to create pieces of delicate, organic nature that are infused with spiritual and physical energy. She also draws inspiration through looking back at historic Venetian glassworks but unlike many Venetian glass artists who see themselves as decorative sculptors, Mishima is determined to produce works that are genuinely useful. Glassworks by Mishima are colourless and transparent, giving the sensations of pureness and luminosity. They capture and release the light and surrounding colors, creating perfect harmony with their contexts. Her work is very powerful, yet supremely elegant.