GLASSTRESS
Venetian glass today
17 September - 29 January 2023

GLASSTRESS REFLEXIONS

Flowing drapery. The motif recurs throughout the history of art, from Classical Antiquity’s wet drapery that both veils and unveils the body, to the Baroque art of chiaroscuro, which uses the contrasts of light and dark, highlights and shading to accentuate surface and depth in sweeping swathes of fabrics. The body must be covered. Draperies sweep over genitalia in ceiling frescoes. Nature must be covered up.

In Karen LaMonte’s Reclining Nocturne 2, the underlying figure is revealed through expansive yet clinging drapery. The transparency of the glass further enhances this effect. A hard, yet fragile, material portrays gentle and flowing folds. Amid the sophisticated artistic draperies, we also find creases, the kind produced by a warm and moist human body. These creases suggest a humanity and presence. However, the lack of a body deceives the viewer. The invisible becomes visible.

The contradictions between hard and soft appear in Marie-Louise Ekman’s installation, which includes mutilated bodies of dogs laid out and carefully wrapped in soft, thin gauze. The nature of the glass, in combination with the textile elements, like the necklace-adorned Olympia, is reinforced in Ekman’s amputated paws and tails.

Art projected through different materials, precipitates a change in perception. Objects for everyday use, artefacts and art objects are viewed through these materials. In art, glass is one among many materials: stone, clay, plaster and metal. Glass adds expressive layers to the work of art, making it difficult to avoid its essence. 

The exhibition represents four decades of art from the Berengo Studios glassworks. The common denominator among the works of art is the material. The qualities of the glass are exploited and are subordinate. In Charles Avery’s slithering eels in Untitled (Ninth Stand #1), the seductive qualities of glass are manifested. The sleek and slippery quality of the eels is highlighted by the material. Avery’s eels are in various stages of their metamorphosis and are trapped in trays and plastic bins. Some of them stretch upward as if in an attempt to escape, while others appear paralysed. In Sweden, the eel has come to symbolise man’s destruction, similarly to the bees hovering serenely above our heads in Laure Provoust’s Trapped By Your Light. They are suspended around an alarming yellow bulb, burning close to destruction like Icarus, who, in arrogance, flies toward the sun. Nature is about to be destroyed by culture. In contrast, Antonio Riello’s burnt books in Ashes to Ashes can be perceived as the annihilation of man and his culture. Thirty-nine glass vessels hold the ashes of different literary works, such as The Idiot by Dostoevsky and Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl. Annihilated and immortalised. It is tangibly painful.

Art can be projected through materials. In the glasstress concept, artistry is projected through Berengo Studios on the ancient island of Murano near Venice. Widely different artistic talents from all over the world, both established and less established artists, with varying points of departure, are revealed through glasstress, which provides the same conditions and thereby also the same starting point for them all. Expressions and techniques, forms and visions coexist within the same boundaries. 

Artists:
I utställningen visas verk av följande konstnärer: Ai Weiwei, Charles Avery, Ernst Billgren, María Magdalena Campo-Pons, Mat Collishaw, Tony Cragg, Jimmie Durham, Marie-Louise Ekman, Carlos Garaicoa, Kendell Geers, Josh Hershman, Ilya & Emilia Kabakov, Kiki Kogelnik, Jone Kvie, Karen LaMonte, Massimo Lunardon, Stefania Mazzola, Denise Milan, Vik Muniz, Hans Op de Beeck, Tony Oursler, Jaume Plensa, Laure Prouvost, Antonio Riello, Wael Shawky, Lino Tagliapietra, Thomas Schütte, Koen Vanmechelen, Fred Wilson, Rose Wylie och Erwin Wurm.

NEW AQUISTITION TO THE ANTIQUES COLLECTION

Millesgården have, through Sotheby's acquired two Roman marble figures of dogs, from the 2nd century AD. They were at the end of 1930s offered for sale along with the Actaeonsculpture Carl Milles bought. The sculpture Milles bought depicts a recoiling man with traces of canine jaws and paws on the thighs. Milles acquired only the male figure, without dogs.

Actaeon was, according to Greek mythology, the grandson of the King of Thebes, and a skilled hunter. During a hunt with his two dogs, he wanders into a forbidden forest and sees the hunting goddess Artemis bathing naked. Artemis discovers him and in anger she transforms him into a deer, then the hunter's own dogs attack and tear him to pieces. At the British Museum in London there is a sculpture group of the same theme, including dogs, but on a smaller scale. In this sculpture the antlers are starting to grow out of Actaeons head.

The acquisition complements Millesgården´s collection of antiques and also enables research on Carl Milles and his collection of antique collecting, why he made the choices he made  when purchasing antique sculpture, and also research on this specific theme in antique sculpture.

 

The aquisition is made possible thanks to a generous contribution by Millesgården´s friends association. 

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Actaeon in the antiques collection at Millesgården. Photo: Yanan Li.