Murano, Monday afternoon, June 17, 2013

We took a boat (of course) to the island of Murano, known for its glass, for a continuation of Glasstress.  We passed the Isola di San Michele, a small island in the lagoon of Venice which consists only of the cemetery of San Michele and its famous Renaissance church (1469).

San Michele is Venice’s cemetery–a role it has borne with dignity since the early 1800s, when Napoleon’s occupying forces told the Venetians to start hauling their dead across the water instead of burying them all over town.

venice 510I liked these lampposts, Metamorphosis – Totally in Love, by Pieke Bogmans.

Thirty-five years ago Adriano Berengo bought the oldest glass factory in Murano, which had been abandoned for 40 years, and made it into the first Museum for Contemporary Art Glass in Murano.  He now has galleries in Venice, Murano and Tokyo.  Nice article about the Berengo Collection here:

Glasstress was conceived by Adriano Berengo.  It started with the 2009 edition of the International Art Exhibition-La Biennale di Venezia.  

venice 514We went first to an artist studio.  Only Art In Glass, by curator Lucca.

Delphine Lucielle paints in San Francisco with glass on glass (hand-woven fiberglass).

Lucielle weaves glass fibres into glass panels, to create multi-dimensional “canvases”. Rather than traditional pigments, she uses natural mineral pigments silkscreened onto and then fused with glass panels hence image and medium become one.

Korean soap sculptor Meekyoung Shin hung a clear glass curtain, seen here in front of one of the other artists.  (Is this correct?  It’s what I have in my venice 513notes, but she is usually known wax sculptures of vases.)

venice 516Karim Rashid is an Egyptian born New York based designer.  He uses old techniques, newly done as art.  Here his Glaskape.

I love Macchia +1 (sounds better than its translation of Blotch + 1) by Pedro Cabrita Reis, a Portuguese artist, who started as a painter.  He pours molten glass on a brass table.

venice 518venice 520Another video art piece by Tony Oursler, False Color Action, this one on glass.  (We had seen one of his works at the Byblos Art Hotel, outside Verona1.)

bees02venice 521Slovakian artist and designer Tomáš Gabzdil Libertíny created The Unbearable Lightness.  bees01Bees, attracted to the glass, have covered it with honeycomb.  (My photo and detail, but the bee photo from the internet.)  In 2010…

… 40,000 worker bees were released into the case to complete a wax honeycomb structure over the figure of a martyred Christ rising out of the chaos, his weight seeming to be upheld by the mass strength of the swarm. The figure within the vitrine is made of a laser sintered framework in which the industrious bees created a honeycomb skin over before filling each cell with the honey they produce. Then bees worked to remove the honey from the cells and return it to the beehive, cleaning the figure back to the wax cells they originally created.

venice 523Brit Helen Storey began her career as a fashion designer, which you can see in this beautiful The Dress of Glass and Flame, which does have a glass of burning bioethanol within.

venice 524Indian artist Sudarshan Shetty created A Walk in the Rain, a quote and “raindrops” on what I think is gorilla glass, as it spans the diagonal of the room.

 “He walked as the rain drops poured down his cheeks like exaggerated salty sorrow that slowly filled his pockets submerging the cashless leather wallet which made him happy to imagine that he was losing a lifetime of fortune to a grand deluge.”

It was key, noted Shetty, to ensure that the experiences he was relating, while largely fictionalised, were of a “generic” nature that people might be able to associate with. 2

venice 525Stuart Haygarth sent Glass House from London, and when the curator (?) started to unpack the pieces, he found they were broken!  After a few were unpacked he realized that the entire house was broken on purpose.

Based on the proverb, those living in glasshouses shouldn’t throw stones. It’s made out of a steel glasshouse structure. Where the glass would go, it’s been replaced with mirror toughened glass laminate so you can actually shatter the mirror behind the glass but the glass stays intact. As a result you get very fractured panels of mirrors. The shattered mirror glasshouse is illuminated and light reflects off all the surrounding walls in the space it’s shown. It’s also levitating off the ground by 10 cm. It looks like it’s floating. 3

venice 526Student Phil O’Shaughnessy won

… the Berengo Studio award. In winning the competition it involves travelling to Murano to work with the glass blowers to make a piece of art that would be exhibited as part of the Venice Biennale 2013. 4

He created In Search of Hidden Value in Wax from glass and wax candles.

venice 529German Marta Klonowska has done this beautiful koi, The Fish, based on this 19th century Japanese print.  The form is chicken wire and each piece of shattered glass is placed individually.

For the subjects of her works, the artist finds inspiration in the paintings of the great masters, in which pets are side by side with the subjects, acting almost like prestigious objects that are exhibited as synonyms for wealth and power.

venice 533

venice 530A private curator got cut once carrying one of her animals into a home, so from then on there are removable rods built into the animals for ease of movement.  (See detail – even though the glass shards are squared off, they are very sharp!)

Each large room has a kiln (for ambiance? as they’re not used here.)

venice 539venice 532The Recycle Group (whose work, Column, Series “Future Archeology”, we saw this morning) did Breath, a mask breathing.  My notes say that it is a video on glass.  ??

Zak Ové, a London based artist, works in film, photography and sculpture. Time Tunnel is popular with people who want to have their photo taken between the segments.

venice 540venice 541More of Pieke venice 543Bergmans’ Metamorphosis – French kiss.

Zak Timan, the son of the couple in our group, makes floating sculpture, with pieces tethered to a vessel bottom, such as Rhapsody in Red, venice 534suspended in liquid spaceHe poses here with Rhapsody.  The detail shows how the red blobs of glass, created without molds, are linked by the almost invisible chain.  It took a team venice 536of five people to assemble.  Unconfirmed by Zak, but rumor has it, the work sold for upwards of $20K!  Way to go Zak!

venice 535Sugar Blues, also shown here, is made with bird’s eggshells tethered by gold-colored threadThe glass containers are hollow and filled with clear oil.  He does the computer modeling in California, as he lives in the San Francisco Bay areaHis web site is pretty awesome, with a page on how he was influenced by Calder.

I’ve also gotten word that Sugar Blues and another similar piece with floating eggshells sold, to collectors in Paris and in Melbourne, Australia, respectively.

venice 546venice 545

venice 544Upstairs was a living chandelier, Seductive Evolution of Animated Illumination, by Shih Chieh Huang, a New York-based Taiwanese artist who has a fascination with bioluminescent organisms.  The ends blow up and down and the colors change by LEDs.  He used Murano glass plus technology from Taiwan.

venice 549The restaurant was in the building and we had a beautifully presented lunch.  The dessert was a chocolate mousse with whipped cream sprinkled with cocoa in a glass dish over a lavender napkin over a glass saucer.

Then back to the workshop where we watched glassblowing in the back.  Ovens to 1,000°!!!

hutvenice 554The artist who was working at the back made drawings of what he wanted and the two men working with the glass did all venice 557of the HOT work.  I asked him to write his name as he didn’t have business cards with him but am not sure if it was Hellden Hut, which is what it looks like.  He also drew a picture for me in my tiny notebook.

venice 553venice 555Sure felt cool when we got back outside.

venice 559venice 558In front was the gallery/ shop.  Spaniard Juan García Ripollés studied with Joan Miró and makes these whimsical bronze and glass sculptures.  He did the painting too.  He exhibited with Fernando Botero in Venice.  These works go for €6,000 to €12,000 here.

venice 563Luigi Benzoni, who studied architecture and specialized in the history of art, now experiments with the human face, such as, The Mirror and the Mask, with an image in gold-leaf inside.

venice 562Michael Petry, born in Texas but living in London, Director of the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) London, and author of many art books, has created these huge (about 15”?) eggs, which go for €4,500.5

venice 560Massimo Lunardon with one of his Aliens, They Come To Help Us.

These are Aliens who come from faraway galaxies and unknown places, arrived in peace to investigate our reality. From the very beginning they have started to get in touch with us, trying to live our daily lives. 6

He said that someone in New York had purchased one of his Aliens when he was there and he thought that he ought to hand-carry it to deliver it rather than risk breakage.  No one on the New York streets or subway even gave him a second look, cuddling an alien.

You can check out the artists at the Berengo Studio website.7

We had some time to shop before our boats came, so I bought three necklaces at €10 each.  They seemed like a steal.  We’ll see if they look tacky back home.

venice 565venice 564A view of the canal in Murano and public art (glass, obviously).


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