Sand and fire: impossible not to be fashinated by the magical alchemy generated by these two simple elements. The glass, which is an indispensable presence in everyday life, is also one of the favorite materials in architecture, design and contemporary art, sometimes with intersting hybrids as shown by recent exhibitions.
The starting point is offered by some open projects and collateral exhibitions on the occasion of 55a International Art Exhibition Biennale di Venezia, the Capital of glass worldwide.
In Venice, at Isola di San Giorgio, is based “Le Stanze del Vetro”, a cultural project by Fondazione Giorgio Cini and Pentagram Stiftung devoted to studying the art of glassmaking in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries: current exhibition until December 1st “Napoleone Martinuzzi. Venini 1925–1931”.
Inside the Basilica di San Giorgio is possible to live an amazing experience thanks to the installation “Perspectives” by John Pawson, presented by Swarovski Foundation, until Novembre 24th: a 40 cm wide concave Swarovski crystal lens –the biggest one- creates a dramatic optical experience, a unique view of Andrea Palladio’s architectural masterpiece.
At San Giorgio too, the glass was protagonist of the installation sponsored by Pentagram Stiftung “700 Snowballs” by Not Vital: 700 individually blown glass balls which bear striking resemblance to snowballs suspended in air and reflected on a mirrow; a place of meditation and free by phisical boundaries.
Metaphisical atmosphere also in the installation “Well and Truly” by Roni Horn at the exhibition “Prima Materia”, until December 31st at Punta della Dogana: the glass replaces the water (the recurrently material used by the artist) and is presented in a solid form of ten cast-glass “frozen” blocks in differen shades from pale–blue to white with a gloss, translucent , liquid and ambiguous top surface.
“Glasstress” is another interesting open project devoted to glass; for the 2013 edition it presents “White Light-White Heat” at Palazzo Cavalli-Franchetti and two other locations (until 24th November and at London College of Fashion from November 27th to February 23rd): 65 worlwide famous artists were invited by Adriano Berengo to explore the universe and the essence of glassblowing and to express theirself vision by using glass in a traditional or innovative way. For example the Ron Arad’s high-tech work “Last Train”, has a performative and interactive element and is inspired by a late night train journey in which the designer witnessed a man using the large diamond ring on his hand to graffiti a train window. Arad has invited some artists to use a specially created iPad programme to manipulate a bejewelled hand that scratches their drawings into a large piece of plate glass.
Glass inspires artists out Venice too, for example the installation “2-Way Mirror” by Dan Graham at Lisson Gallery in London is poised between sculpture and architecture: a freestanding pavilion, replacing the internal booth structure with a spiral of steel and glass, simultaneously reflective and transparent, through which we view others and ourselves.
Text by Renata Sias, editor of WOW! Webmagazine
1 Not Vital, 700 Snowballs, courtesy Galleria Andrea Carash, Zurich.
2, 3 Ron Arad, Last Train, 2013, Glasstress.
4 Loris Cecchini, Del riposo incoerente, 2013, Glasstress.
5 Kiki&Joost, Dining stories chandelier, 2013, Glasstress.
6 Roni Horn, Well and Truly, 2009‐2010 © Roni Horn / Courtesy Hauser & Wirth Installation view at Punta della Dogana, 2013. Ph: © Stefan Altenburger Photography, Zurich
7 John Pawson, Perspectives, courtesy Swarovski Foundation.
8 Napoleone Martinuzzi. Venini 1925–1931. Le Stanze del Vetro.
9 Dan Graham, 2-Way Mirror Cylinder Bisected By Perforated, Stainless Steel, 2011-12, © the artist; Courtesy, Lisson Gallery, London.