Land and sea creatures alike overrun a new exhibition at Le Stanze Del Vetro in Venice. Titled The Glass Ark, the eclectic bestiary—among the more than 750 animals on view are elephants, hippos, cats, giraffes, polar bears, parrots, and poodles adorned with bows—is the expansive collection of art historian and former Louvre president Pierre Rosenberg.
For thirty years, Rosenberg gathered the lustrous sculptures during regular trips to Venice, a region with a long history of innovative techniques and a hub for glassblowing since the 13th Century. Charming and playfully expressive, the Murano glass pieces diverge from similar collections produced in other media. “They never display fierce poses, which are typical of more traditional animalier sculptures,” a statement says, “and above all, they are never conceived as a toy.”
In addition to Rosenberg’s collection, The Glass Ark also features pieces from artists working today, including Cristiano Bianchin, Marcantonio Brandolini d’Adda, Franck Ehrler, Massimo Nordio, Isabelle Poilprez, Maria Grazia Rosin, and Giorgio Vigna. It runs both in-person and virtually through August 1. (via designboom)
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Calm bodies of hand-cut glass pool atop jagged concrete in Ben Young’s aquatic sculptures. The New Zealand-based artist (previously) is known for his marine landscapes that position miniature figures in vast expanses of the translucent material, creating a contemplative environment that juxtaposes a minuscule representation of humanity alongside the immensity of the oceans and other bodies of water. Each piece similarly contrasts the organic topography with the perfect right angles that provide the cubic shape and revealing cross-sections.
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From her studio in St. Petersburg, artist Elena Zaycman creates delicate flowers and tropical plants from vibrant stained glass. She strays from the traditional two-dimensional panels to produce lifelike forms that resemble fleshy petals and curved leaves found in nature. Whether a pair of tulips or fanned palm, Zaycman’s translucent designs refract light and cast tinted shadows in an array of organic shapes around the space.
Having worked with the medium for nearly a decade, the artist tells Colossal that prior to creating the smaller sculptures she collaborated with her sister on expansive projects that required a lengthy, complex installation in homes and other spaces. She began to produce the mounted pieces as a way to circumvent that process and make the art form more accessible to those without the resources for large, permanent works. Today, her sculptures often reflect vegetation and natural life spotted during travel—an encounter with a stray puppy on a trip to Bali informed many of the pieces shown here—or evoke playful, geometric characters, like in her Monstrics collection.
Zaycman was recently featured in the second edition of We Are Makers, and she sells downloadable patterns for a variety of moths and insects on Etsy. Follow her on Instagram for glimpses into her process and updates on available works.
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Approach the delicate glass artworks by Rui Sasaki, and witness the unpredictable patterns of the weather through a subtle glow of blue light. The Japanese artist’s experiential body of work translates varying forecasts into speckled sculptures that radiate once encountered, an intimate process that Sasaki describes as a way to “visualize subtle sunshine, record today’s weather, and transfer it from here to there/from there to here.”
At their brightest, the phosphorescent crystals are tinged green before fading to blue. “Visitors will doubtless be surprised to find that even if they cannot see anything on first entering the gallery, stay long enough and their eyes will become accustomed to the dark, and the elements of the work will gradually become visible,” Sasaki writes. Because each encounter sparks a unique reaction in the embedded lights, no two experiences will be the same. She explains:
The phosphorescent glass used stores light of a wavelength close to that of sunlight, with this stored light then glowing in the dark. That is to say, one is now seeing light accumulated in the past. If a viewer remains in the gallery for an extended period, the next viewer will see the work glowing weakly in the darkness. With longer viewing time, the light of the phosphorescent glass fades, moment by moment, until finally the gallery is plunged into darkness. This might occur a minute later, or a day later, depending on viewer movements.
Many of the sculptures evoke organic elements in material, concept, and sometimes form, whether shaped into swollen raindrops or a sun-like orb. Others, though, are depicted through domestic scenes with dinnerware or a suspended chandelier, a juxtaposition that relates to Sasaki’s feeling she had lost her sense of home after moving to the U.S. for a few years. Now living in Kanazawa, the artist is using the weather and surrounding environment as a way “to recover from the reverse culture shock and rediscover my intimacy towards my home Japan little-by-little and day-by-day.”
Sasaki’s sculptures are part of multiple group shows, including one at Toyama Prefectural Museum of Art & Design through April 4, another at Art Museum Riga Bourse that will re-open April 6, and an upcoming spring exhibition at Tainan Art Museum in Taiwan. She also has a solo exhibition at Tokyo’s Gallery DiEGO Omotesando slated for May. Watch this interview and studio visit for a glimpse into her process, and follow where her work is headed next on Instagram.
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Exuding elegance and obscurity, Foggy Flowers is a two-photograph series by Sander Plug and Lernert Engelberts that centers on our collective outlook for the future through a blur of frosted glass. The duo, who work under Studio Lernert & Sander, unearthed the delicate shots from their archive—the images were taken in 2018 during a week-long period when they worked continuously on various projects—in May 2020 for Volkskrant Magazine, which asked them to epitomize their creative process during lockdown.
They didn’t want “to jump on the ‘look how very creative we are during this lockdown’ train,” Plug says, and despite their anachronistic context, the two-year-old series fit the studio’s perspective. “When I look back, I see that the blurry and fuzzy flowers are about ambiguity,” he writes. “It symbolizes the way we looked to the future then and how everyone sees the future now. There’s no point in worrying because no one can say how things will turn out now.”
Based in Amsterdam, Plug and Engelberts have been collaborating for about a decade, creating a variety of commercial photography and film projects. A few limited-edition C-prints of the blurred bouquets are still available on their site, and head to Instagram to explore more of their work that ranges from documentaries to animal portraiture to installations filled with cubed cheese. (via Iain Claridge)
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Step into Claudia Bueno’s aquarium-style installation at Meow Wolf’s new space in Las Vegas and experience the slow, oscillating movements of natural life. “Pulse” is comprised of countless white line drawings that are meticulously intertwined and superimposed on 60 glass panels. When illuminated, they mimic scores of nautilus spirals, coral, vines, and botanics that sway and throb in glowing masses.
“This is what ‘Pulse’ is, a way of creating animated volumes using layers of drawings that build up. I have been refining this technique for the last six years, understanding how these forms can also have a moving quality when the light system is applied,” the Venezuela-born artist says, noting that the idea for the project grew out of a visit to Yellowstone National Park.
During the course of eight months, a team of women painstakingly painted the glass panels at Bueno’s Idaho studio. “The repetitive/meditative quality of the work lent itself to provide a very special healing space for us as we drew fine lines for hours and openly shared and supported each other,” she says. No matter the scale of the project, Bueno begins with a single dot that she duplicates, expands into lines, and eventually into intricately developed patterns, which she explains:
It seems like it doesn’t matter what size, materials, and tools I am working with, the same kinds of patterns manage to manifest themselves over and over, building on each other, gaining both complexity and simplicity at the same time… It has been an interesting brain challenge to visualize a stack of 2D drawings that then become 3D and move. It’s my own version of a non-digital, hand-drawn time-lapse or animation.
Although much of the installation’s work is complete, Bueno shares that she’s creating smaller sculptures, jewelry, and other works to coincide with the larger project. “Pulse” is set to premiere at Meow Wolf’s satirical sendup of consumerism, Omega Mart, which the Santa Fe-based arts group (previously) will soon open within Area 15 in Las Vegas. Until then, watch the video above by Adolfo Bueno and find more of Bueno’s light-based works on her site and Instagram. Video by Adolfo Bueno.
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Editor's Picks: History
Highlights below. For the full collection click here.