As lockdowns, stay-at-home orders and closed recreational facilities have created a mental health crisis in America, art has become the opposite of “nonessential.”
Fortunately, on the island of Murano, home to a centuries-old Italian stained glass tradition, the intrepid Venetian artist Adriano Berengo has managed, despite the lockdowns, floods and other disturbances related to the pandemic, has managed to keep its glass workshop warm.
And, luckily for the people of Florida, the Murano Master, in association with the Boca Raton Museum of Art, is preparing a 2021 version of ‘Glassstress’ the world’s most famous glass art exhibition.
“One thing we know for sure … Life is fragile, just as glass is fragile, but in this fragility there is also strength,” says Berengo.
The exhibition, in South Florida for a 9-month stay through September 5, expands Berengo’s dream of showing the world that glass can be a magnificent material for contemporary art. The show uses an ancient art form to capture many of the challenges facing societies around the world, such as man’s relationship to climate change, oppressive governments, and racial injustice.
“Given that 2020 is such a challenging year to coordinate an international exhibition of this size and scope, the effort serves as an important assurance that art is an essential and enduring part of humanity,” says Irvin Lippman, Executive Director of the Museum. of Art of Boca Raton. in a press release.
In fragility there is strength
The scale of the project was immense and required a lot of courage to set up, with all the uncertainties of the pandemic, especially those related to travel: four visa applications were denied, even when their purpose was to work with Americans, due to a lack of information. of “national interest”.
However, Berengo artisans worked for 3 years with 34 artists from around the world to combine their artistic visions with the expert hands of Venetian glassmakers.
Driven by its foundation, Berengo Foundation, which sponsors a recurring exhibition at the famous Venice Biennale, Glass stress He has also traveled the world, making appearances in Beirut, New York, and Stockholm.
“We have brought Glasstress to countries around the world for ten years, seeking to expand and enliven international awareness of the variety and richness of contemporary artists who use glass in their creative practices,” says Berengo.
More than a chandelier
Among the marquee pieces on display is Chinese artist Ai Weiwei’s Blossom Chandelier, a gigantic installation of 1,600 individual glass elements, both hand-cut and cast, filled with unexpected shapes like handcuffs, Twitter birds, flowers, and a wink. special to his time in a Chinese prison, his own middle finger.
In a similar expressive tone, Dustin Yellin Invisible sisyphus (below) is a diorama of simple people who live under the roots of a large tree, all enclosed in a giant glass brick, whose impurities give the illusion of clouds, sky and atmosphere.
Glass older brother (below) is a government-inspired chandelier, exquisitely made of glass and metal, packed with ominous-looking chambers, reminding us of the danger of allowing a government to have too much authority.
“Unlike the past and the present, what comes next for our world is presented as a constant possibility, always transforming as we advance in time,” says Berengo in a Press release. “This concept of transformation has always had an affinity for glass, a medium that, as the name Glasstress suggests, exists in a state of constant tension.”
“Life needs tension, it needs energy and a vibrant exchange of ideas.”
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