The Venice Glass Week 2023 (until 17 September) confirms itself as the ideal event for explore the world of artistic and artisanal glass, with a packed program of exhibitions and talks for a wider and specialist audience.
From retrospectives on Murano masters such as Lino Tagliapietra to the excellence of Bohemian glass, from the conceptual works of Laura de Santillana to the experiments of new generations of international artists, the event embraces the many themes that pertain to the art of glass blowing.
Last but not least, the production techniques and know-how to be preserved and carried forward today, the theme of sustainability and the heritage of the historic Murano companies. In a Venice which, between the XVII International Architecture Biennale and the 80th International Film Festival, fully expresses its propulsion towards artistic disciplines.
Murano companies at the Venice Glass Week
Murano is a treasure chest that preserves centuries-old, all-Italian art and the Venice Glass Week recounted its pearls. Angelo Barovier began the production of typical Venetian crystal in 1455 and even today the island's master glassmakers keep the secrets of those processing techniques in their furnaces. However, it is important to know how to structure this tradition so that it is excellence in the world.
iDOGI at the Venice Glass Week
This is the case of iDOGI, a Venetian company founded in 1968 and specialised in the creation of large chandeliers and light installations in Venetian artistic glass, which they create to measure for the most prestigious villas in the planet, as for the well-known Hinduja family, one of the most important in the United Kingdom, with which the company has a consolidated collaborative relationship. On 29 September iDOGI inaugurates the large Meridies chandelier, a work of 96 lights and over three thousand elements in blown and hand-crafted crystal, inside the Old War Office in London, the building from which Churchill gave his final speech War.
In the newly restored furnace on the tip of Murano, the company presented Urania: a self-supporting light sculpture inspired by geometry and astronomy. 175cm in diameter by 250cm in height, it is a sort of reverse chandelier composed of glass globes that appear to rotate around the main axis, creating orbits with oblique trajectories.
Urania is the second work of the The Muses series: a collection dedicated to the arts, sciences and crafts of the lagoon city. The new furnace, more than a place of production - the various elements of the chandeliers are commissioned from Murano master glassmakers specialized in the most specific techniques - aims to be a creative hub for prototyping and experimentation in glass processing and shapes.
Adjacent to the kilns area, a creative classroom with a large collection of historical pieces of the company and works from the archive of the Pauly & artistic glassworks C. which the president Domenico Caminiti acquired in full.
Barovier&Toso at the Venice Glass Week
Barovier & Toso has its roots in the late 1200s. In the historic headquarters of Murano, the Calvi Brambilla studio sets up the 900 m2 interiors on three levels, through the color and play of reflections of the glass works on display, including the imposing Taif chandelier with 76 lights and 1522 crystal elements.
While in the city, the company opens the new boutique designed by Luca Nichetto, which explores the Flora&Flutter motif: from the ceiling to the floor of the shop, rows of hexagonal canes descend in Venetian crystal, made with the ancient "ice" technique, to form a wall of fringed light; while in the showcase, like leafy plants, a multitude of crystal stems and flowers bloom.
Venini at the Venice Glass Week
Venini hosts the new collections of the art director of the Venetian house, the architect Marco Piva, who this year relaunches the lamps, even small ones, reinterpreting the company's historic techniques and products such as the famous Fazzoletto (1948), now transposed into a lampshade.
And the chromatic exploration of the icons of the Venini catalog continues, this year available in ginko yellow biloba.
The exhibitions of The Venice Glass Week 2023
In transmitting the values linked to Venetian glass, it is important to communicate not only the masterful craftsmanship of the local workers, but above all the poetic capacity of the material in artistic expression.
It is in the folds of technique, within the limits of the material to be overcome that Laura de Santillana creates her minimal sculptures (Laura de Santillana. Beyond matter , at the Gallerie dell'Accademia until November 26th).
Blown glass cylinders, liquefied inside molds with the "slumping" technique, find in the logic of serial production the concepts of primary and generative force, the unpredictability of light and the beauty in the irregularity of matter .
The Venice Glass Week Hub and Hub Under35
At the Ateneo Veneto the two exhibitions The Venice Glass Week HUB and HUB Under35 which respectively select the works of 20 international artists and 24 young creatives created in collaboration with local furnaces.
In common is the will to overcome technical virtuosity and to bring glass towards more current perspectives, such as the upcycling of waste, the combination with digital technologies and intelligence artificial or unusual mixes of glass and other materials.
Similarly, the nearby SPARC* gallery (A Destiny in Glass. 13 Artists at Vetreria Anfora, until October 13) showcases 13 works by designers and artists, including Emmanuel Babled, Maria Laura Rosin, Tristano di Robilant and Yoichi Ohira, who collaborated with the historic Anfora glassworks.
Thanks to the intuition of the owner Renzo Ferro and the sensitivity of the master glassmakers Livio Serena and Andrea Zilio, the glassworks moved from the serial production of glasses to creation of unique pieces, highlighting glass as an artistic medium.
Curated by Jean Blanchaert at Palazzo Donà delle Rose, WonderGlass presents an exhibition-workshop,The Brick House, on the theme of the glass block as an investigative tool.
The result is the Barene by Studio Nucleo, sculptures in recycled and remelted glass bricks, which are inspired by the shape of the lagoon lands of the same name; Laura Bethan Wood's chained brick structures that draw inspiration from the karahafu, the Japanese curved gable; the transparent brick Qaammat Pavilion, installed by Konstantin Ikonomidis in Sarfannguit, Greenland.
Lino Tagliapietra, NasonMoretti and the masters of Bohemian glass
At the Glass Museum an exhibition that celebrates the history of NasonMoretti (NasonMoretti, a family of Murano glass, curated by Cristina Beltrami, until 6 January 2024), a glassware factory founded in 1923 by Ugo Nason, with the subsequent entry of Francesco Moretti.
Goblets and glasses capture influences and contaminations from the world of art and design, transferred into everyday works that have become a point of reference for the international art of the table, so much so that the Lidia series (Compasso d' Gold 1955) is preserved at the MoMa in New York.
Over the years, NasonMoretti has taken processing techniques to the extreme, especially in the creation of colours: such as the thirty shades of green, including Soraya Green, named after the Persian princess with magnetic eyes.
The great masters at the Cini Foundation
The great masters of Bohemian glass are on display at the Cini Foundation (Bohemian Glass. The great masters, curated by Caterina Tognon and Sylva Petrová, until November 26). A tradition that dates back to the 12th century and which in the first twenty years of the 20th century saw artists create despite the limitations of the regime and the turbulent transformations of Czechoslovakian society.
Freedoms often denied which, on the other hand, have seen the creation of unique examples, closer to sculpture than to everyday objects. The works on display by Václav Cigler, Vladimír Kopecký, Stanislav Libenský and Jaroslava Brychtová, René Roubíček and Miluše Roubíčková are pardigmatic in the use of glass as an artistic expression and interpretation of the cultural currents of the twentieth century.
Born in Venice in 1934,Lino Tagliapietrahas been working with glass since he became an apprentice at the age of eleven. From the end of the Seventies he began a continuous journey in America developing, with the students of the Pilchuck School, the tradition of Venetian glass blowing.
Displayed inside Ca' Rezzonico, the 21 works and the majestic fused glass panels offer a cross-section of the master's vast production in open dialogue with the eighteenth-century masterpieces that surround them (Lino Tagliapietra, the origin of the trip, until September 25th).
Upcycling and ready made. Sustainability in glass
The concept brings together multiple implications. There is an essential need for energy saving, brought to the news also by the Murano furnaces, incapable of supporting the very high energy consumption of the furnaces.
It is also rethinking the material and its production techniques with a view to recycling and lower Co2 production.
In this sense the exhibition at the Murano Glass Museum, Upcycling Glass (curated by Matteo Silverio, until 6 January 2024). In the installation which replicates a domestic loft, around forty works - glasses, vases and crockery, a large Rezzonico chandelier, furnishings and decorative elements - are made by the island's master glassmakers with recycled, transparent and colorless industrial glass< /strong>.
A very different material from traditional Murano glass, worked with traditional techniques such as blowing, glass fusing, lampworking, grinding and beating, but with a significantly lower production of Co2 in the production cycle .
The exhibitionThe Art of Raw Glass(at Palazzo Grimani, until 17 September), created in collaboration with the Albero D'Oro Foundation, the Etrillard Foundation of Geneva and the Swiss company ALCO, sees eighteen students of theMaster in Design for Luxury & Craftsmanshipof the ECAL/University of Art and Design of Lausanne to try their hand at glass processing waste, such as blocks of raw glass, accumulated debris or blown glass elements preserved for decades on the wooden shelves of some historic glassworks of Murano.
Together with the master glassmakers they created "ready made" pieces that evoke some typical Venetian suggestions: water, colours, reflections and the erosion of materials.
Cover photo: iDOGI - Making of