February 1st, 2023
A NEW START FOR MURANO GLASS
In recent years the pandemic, the rising cost of energy, and the war events in Europe are threatening Murano glass production, despite the resilience of talented glass masters, the support of enlightened local administrators, and private donors’ sponsorships.
Today’s latest challenges are part of a broader issue that encompasses the future of glass as an art form, the recruitment of young apprentices, and the relationships with a centuries-old tradition.
About 15 years ago, the Venice museum authorities debated the importance of modern exhibition areas for such an ancient heritage and the need for a positive future outlook. It was time to highlight the 20th-century technical improvements, the contribution of international designers, and the relentless search for new artistic forms.
Murano glass masters were also involved in a project that included exhibition planning and a selection of the best pieces stored in the museum deposits. They were donated in the last decades by the old families who made the history of Murano glass.
A substantial funding campaign led to the renovation of the Glass Museum, dating from 1861, and the former 19th-century Conterie factory meant for bead production. Glass rods cut in round pieces for a great variety of glass jewelry. In those days, 3000 skilled workers developed many patterns and colors still in use today.
Since then, Conterie building has been hosting temporary exhibitions, mainly dedicated to international glass masters known for a different approach to this versatile material. No matter where artists come from, the shows provide visitors with an upgraded view of the glass world and a proper comparison with the Venetian pieces upstairs.
The current exhibit at the Conterie is “Shattering Beauty” by Simon Berger, on display until May 7th, 2023.
Simon is a Swiss specialist in solid glass sculptures made from overlapped cracked sheets that recreate human faces, skulls, and animal heads. Female portraits appear from fractured glass squares, and the different layers add an impressive three-dimensional look that fades away as you move.
His training as a carpenter enhanced his interest in other media and the concept of beauty emerging from destruction. In fact, as the artist was dealing with car carcasses, he focused on broken windshields, which suggested new artistic explorations.
Ephemeral presences are showcased together with clear glass cubes that reflect visitors’ bodies and the shape of the columns supporting round-headed arches. Space, light, and people interact with artworks in an immersive and emotional experience that will be hard to forget! Really, A NEW START FOR MURANO GLASS