The second edition of GLASSTRESS, a collateral event of the Venice Biennale, is a showcase for the use of glass in contemporary art. Above, a work by designer Jaime Hayon.
Atelier Van Lieshout
GLASSTRESS is the evocative and provocative title of an exhibition featuring the work of 60 renowned artists, architects and designers - an affirmation of glass as the stuff of modernity - as well as antiquity. Say the organizers, "Originally a noble material used for functional purposes, over the centuries, glass has had to exert great pressure and to expend enormous effort to free itself from the clichés that have imprisoned it and have relegated its uses to limited contexts."
GLASSTRESS 2011 offers a tour through the discovery of glass as a new media for contemporary art at the Istituto Veneto di Scienze, Lettere ed Arti, Palazzo Cavalli Franchetti in Venice. The theme of this year's exhibition is the complex relationship that ties art, design and architecture together in an age thought to have moved beyond modernism.
"The arrangement of the works unfolds in neither a rigid chronological order nor a theoretically exhaustive one but rather one that is emotionally pregnant, that allows the onlooker to understand the wealth of this extraordinary material's expressive potential, a material traditionally linked to the city of Venice."
The exhibition brings together some particularly important works from the first half of the 20th century along with 40 new works and installations, "in such a way as to create ensembles rich with cross-references and harmonies or ones characterized by a diversity of approaches and aims."
Joost van Bleiswijk, Fragile-Factory
Says Adriano Berengo, a founder of GLASSTRESS, "Glass is the common heritage of all peoples and all cultures. It speaks a universal language and brings opposites together: it is transparent and at the same time reflective, it is matter and anti-matter, it shows the void through its fullness. Glass is the material of art."
This year's GLASSTRESS was promoted by The Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) of New York, conceived and organized by Adriano Berengo, produced by Venice Projects, and curated by an international cadre of curators; Lidewij Edelkoort, Peter Noever and Demetrio Paparoni, with a contribution of Bonnie Clearwater.
Photos: Francesco Allegretto