White Light / White Heat

A new exhibition in London rather boldly links glassblowing to the ‘formation of the universe’, linking their shared naissance in ‘light and heat, the components of fire’.

 Marta Klonowska, The Fish, 2013

Source: Courtesy of the artist

Marta Klonowska, The Fish, 2013

It’s this light and heat (and The Velvet Underground) that has leant the exhibition its sub-heading, White Light/ White Heat – a presentation of works in glass by a number of well-know designers and artists collectively curated under the title Glasstress.

Hussein Chalayan Frozen Monologue, 2013 Glass
Hussein Chalayan Frozen Monologue, 2013 Glass

The show is split between two London gallery spaces, the Fashion Space Gallery  at London College of Fashion and the nearby Wallace Collection; and isa continuation of the Glasstress series, previously shown at the Venice Art Biennale in 2009 and 2011.

Shih Chieh Huang, Seductive Evolution of Animated Illumination, 2013

Source: Courtesy of the artist

Shih Chieh Huang, Seductive Evolution of Animated Illumination, 2013

The only brief given to the designers and artists, co-curator James Putnam tells us, is that the work must use glass in one way or another.

Thomas Schu¨tte, Geister, 2011

Source: Courtesy of the artist

Thomas Schu¨tte, Geister, 2011

As such, the work on show is lively and diverse, moving way beyond what we’d expect of the medium, which is often dismissed in the unforgiving art world as rather erring on the side of ‘tweeness’ and craft.

Stuart Haygarth, Glass House, 2013

Source: Courtesy of the artist

Stuart Haygarth, Glass House, 2013

Most opted to design their piece and leave the fabrication to a professional glass practitioner, though a few of those taking part chose to blow the glass themselves.

Shirazeh Houshiary, Flicker, 2013

Source: Courtesy of the artist

Shirazeh Houshiary, Flicker, 2013

Adraino Berengo, director of Berengo Studio Murano and Glasstress co-curator, says, ‘By allowing artists to come into contact with this known but seldom used material (in aesthetic terms), I like to think Glasstress has created for each artist the idea conditions for limitless experimentation, open to failure, to second guessing, and to the elation of new discoveries’.

 Whitney McVeigh, Solitude a breath away, 2013

Source: Courtesy of the artist

Whitney McVeigh, Solitude a breath away, 2013

He adds, ‘No one has simply expected to use glass as an interchangeable material with commonly used ones; each, in the end, has found a way to assimilate glass into his own poetic theme, expressing it concretely in the final work’.

 Mona Hatoum, KAPANCIK, 2012

Source: Courtesy Galerie Max Hetzler

Mona Hatoum, KAPANCIK, 2012

Glasstress: White Light/ White Heat runs until 23 February at Fashion Space Gallery, London College of Fashion, 20 John Princes Street W1G and The Wallace Collection, Hertford House, Manchester Square, London, W1U

 Jason Martin, Chimera (Azul), 2013

Source: Courtesy White Cube, London

Jason Martin, Chimera (Azul), 2013

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