Glasstress: Gotika (Berengo Studios)

Whilst in Venice last weekend I underwent a cultural rejuvenation as I visited some of the many exciting exhibitions taking place there.

One of those I was looking forward to seeing was the latest Glasstress exhibition which our own Chair of Art in the Environment, Lucy Orta has taken part in.

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The Glasstress project, which has been running since 2009, provides an artistic platform for creating collaborations between the local Venetian traditions of glass making and contemporary art.

The flexibility, beauty and innovative nature of glass, always makes this a compelling spectacle and this year was no exception.

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Glasstress Gotika – this year’s theme – explores the effect that Gothic and medieval ideas have had on the modern conscience and contemporary art.

The show is a joint project between the State Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg and Berengo Studio in Venice. So, interestingly, historical works from the Hermitage’s collection of medieval glass are combined with newly commissioned glass works made in Murano.

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More than 50 artists, with Orta being one of them, were invited to work with the glass masters of Murano and respond to the Gothic concept in their glass creations.

Whilst all the projects referred, directly or indirectly, to the Gothic style there were all sorts of interpretations, from mythology, religious themes, the Holy Grail, King Arthur, medieval horror and torture, death and resurrection, medicine and alchemy.

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Commissioned for the exhibition, Lucy + Jorge Orta’s sculpture Arboreal, a bronze fallen tree-trunk from which, four glass seed pods are blossoming, referenced nature’s resilience in overcoming the most barren environments.

It was very nice to be reminded of our own collaboration with Berengo studios when Glasstress White Light ¦ White Heat travelled to London College of Fashion in 2013 and overall it’s a show really worth seeing for the fascinating mix of objects and artists.

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