VENICE, GLASS IS IN THE AIR
July 16th, 2017
Awaiting for the first Venice Glass Week, that will start on September 10th and will showcase a  variety of lectures, events, exhibits, workshops, open days , parties, sport events and more.

 If you happen to be in Venice now in July don’t miss the solo show dedicated to architect and designer Ettore Sottsass’ glasses. Until the end of July at San Giorgio Maggiore Island, right opposite to St Mark’s Square.

 The exhibit, at Le Stanze del Vetro space stars about 200 pieces, mostly from private collections, and for the great majority never exhibited in public shows before. In particualr one room is devoted to the series of glass sculptures he created in 1999 for the Sheyk of Qatar.  

Curator Massimo Barbero explains that Sottsass glasses are designed as if they were characters, were the architect-artists breaks the technical boundaries by inserting plastic, policharbonate and other materials. For his largest scultures he used chemical glues for the first time in the Muranese tradition. 

Also a creator of ceramics, Sottsass (1917-2007) worked with several Murano furnaces, such as SALIR, Toso, Cenedese and Venini. In later years he also collaborated with Alessi, Baccarat, Swarovski and more, bringing him to confront himself wiht the Mitteleuropean tradition of wheel cut crystal.

As a Biennale collateral event GLASSTRESS ar Palazzo Franchetti, will be on from May through November 26th. This 5th edition involves 40 international artists, including some emerging figures and some famous names such as Al Weiwei, Jan Fabre, Abdulnasser Gharem, Paul McCarthy, Jake & Dinos Chapman, Sarah Sze.  

Most of these artists are not experienced in the art of glass making but bravely accepted the challenge. Their collaboration with Murano glass masters has produced abosultely surprising results, breaking with stereotypes and reinvigorating the many centuries old Muranese excellence.

 Curator Dimitri Ozerkov comes from the Ermitage in St Petersbourg, while the local organization is the Berengo Foundation.

Important help from the Metropolitan Museum in New York, thanks to the collaboration of Clare Phyllis Davies, and from Vienna (Herwig Kempinger, President of Secession, Association of Visual Artists). 

In the luxuriant garden at Palazzo Franchettii, standing the foot of the Accademia Bridge, you’ll be surprised by  Protected Paradise, a spectacular installation by the Belgian artist Koen Vanmechelen, dealing with the preservation of our Planet and with recycling materials (glass included, of course).

The illumination is highly emotional and looks wonderful at night seen from the Grand Canal.  

The exhibition continues in Murano, where an abandoned glass factory was given a second life by French artist Loris Gréaud, with his all pervading  ‘Unplayed Notes Factory’.
The dreamlike choreography of light, fire, noises, alchemic experiments and explosions will transport you into another world.  

About the Venice Glass Week: the official program has not not been delivered yet, but we know that the starting event will be the inauguration at the Stanze del Vetro on St George’s Island of a major exhibition devoted to Vittorio Zecchin (from Sept 11th through January 7th).

 In the 1920s painter Vittorio Zecchin was artistic director first at VSM Cappelin Venini and then  at the MVM Cappellin & C., active at reinterpreting classical Murano glass in a modern key to give it a new launch and modernize the production. Curated by Marino Barovier the exhibit will showcase a highly refined production of 250 monochrome transparent blown glass items.

Clean, essential, well proportioned, with an extraordinary variety of colors, Zecchin borrows sometimes from Venetian and Flemish 16th century  paintings, where glass objects are often represented on tables of Last Suppers and Feasts at Cana.

Always on St George’s Island it will be possible to admire ‘Qwalala’ a new monumental creation by the American artist Pae White, that should be ready by August. It consists of a curvilinear glass wall, 75 metres long, made of thousands brightly colored glass bricks. Qwalala, or Gualala, is the name of a Californian River.

The work is the second temporary installation commissioned by Le Stanze del Vetro (after Glass Tea House Mondrian byb Hiroshi Sugimoto). Casa dei Tre Oci, on the Island of Giudecca, will host the works of Massimo MIcheluzzi, artist and designer active in Venice and very well known on the international scene.

Micheluzzi uses tradtional techniques to achieve sophisticated modern effects. He blends classic murrina and battuto obtaining sober, elegant, soft looking effects, somehow reminiscent of the gently curving canals of Venice and the Lagoon. 

In Murano itself main events include: Gaetano Pesce – Five techniques with Glass (at the Murano Glass Museum until Sept 17th). Along his long career as an architect, sculptor and designer, Gaetano Pesce (born in 1939) has never cessed to experience the potentialities of different materials, with a special love for glass. 

His resuts are unexpected and and fun. Dino Martens – Painter & Designer  (at the Murano Glass Museum, until September 30th), Venetian by birth, moved to Murano in the 1920s where he collaborated with SALIR and then with Salviati & C.

His great sensitivity for glass brought him to exploit all its possibilities, giving life to innovative, frequently visionary projects. Martens’ lesson is still very much alive today on the island.  Garden Fracture/Mirror in Vapour, Part 2 – a personal show by the Australian Rosslynd Piggott, resuimg her 30 years long experience with glass.

At the Glass Museum, from Sept 29 through December 3. An ancient technique, glass engraving, is made to dialogue with an installation of drawings. A garden of the imagination of powerful creativity. Not to be missed.  

Ah, and if you like the idea of jogging at night in Murano at the light of thousands’ candles, running through six working factories, well, make sure to be here during the Glass Week!

The Venice Glass Week Official Site