May 9 – November 24, 2019
Fondazione Berengo Art Space, Campiello Della Pescheria, Murano
The institution's press release follows:
Returning for the 58th Biennale di Venezia, the sixth edition of Glasstress brings together a new line-up of leading contemporary artists from Europe, the United States, Latin America, India, and China in an ambitious exhibition exploring the endless creative possibilities of glass.
GLASSTRESS is a project by Adriano Berengo dedicated to supporting his mission of marrying contemporary art and glass. Since its debut in 2009 as a collateral event of the Venice Biennale, Glasstress has revived the traditional craft of Murano glassblowing by forging new alliances with internationally renowned artists and designers and has since become an unparalleled platform showcasing ground-breaking new works in glass.
To celebrate 10 years of Glasstress and 30 years of Berengo Studio, the exhibition goes back to its historical roots on the island of Murano. An old abandoned glass furnace is now an evocative exhibition space for striking new works and installations by returning artists Ai Weiwei, Tony Cragg and Thomas Schütte as well as first time participants Prune Nourry, José Parlá and Xavier Veilhan, amongst others. For this section, Brazilian artist Vik Muniz has invited all artists to explore ‘how glass redefines our perception of space’. In another section, curated by Belgian artist Koen Vanmechelen, highlights from the past ten years will also go on display, including Mutter (2016/17) by Erwin Wurm, Laura’s Hands (2011) by Jaume Plensa and A Different Self (2014) by Mat Collishaw. Referring to the making of glass works, Vanmechelen says: ‘the world of the unknown and unseen becomes visible and tangible through beautiful accidents in time.’ A special project by Robert Wilson, curated by Jean Blanchaert, will also feature as part of the exhibition.
With little or no prior experience working with glass, these artists have embraced the challenge of creating extraordinary works in this very delicate medium in collaboration with Muranese artisans. The output of this unusual encounter defies the stereotypes associated with this ancient craft, ultimately pushing the boundaries of both contemporary art and glass.
This year’s edition of Glasstress will also provide visitors with the opportunity to watch Murano glass masters at work at the adjacent glassblowing studio and learn more about Fondazione Berengo’s preservation efforts of this centuries-old artistry of Venetian glass-making.