Astonishing Science. Spectacular museum.
Read about the artwork
Sen Man Na Yu Ta (image Andreas Schmidt)
Air (image Andreas Schmidt)
Location: Challenge of Materials gallery, first floor
Kyoko Kumai uses mass-produced man-made steel wire to create sculptures which when woven, twisted or bundled together take on an organic appearance. Steel is a material ordinarily associated with toughness and strength, but by manipulating steel in an unexpected way Kumai overthrows preconceptions of the material's qualities.
Suggesting growth in nature and taking on an uncharacteristic organic appearance, stainless steel sculpture Sen Man Na Yu Ta spreads across the wall of the Challenge of Materials gallery, atmospherically enveloping space and light. Kumai's work gives the impression of a sense of weightlessness, as the steel swirling fibres seem to be as light and fragile as silk threads - even though the sculpture weighs 30 kg.
Air by Kyoko Kumai is also in the Science Museum's collection but no longer on display.
Inspired by the traditions of weaving and working by hand, Japanese artist Kyoko Kumai (born 1943) has been creating sculptures made from stainless steel wire since 1976.
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