Monday, May 6, 2013

NOT VITAL: 700 Snowballs

Snowball, 2001, Murano glass, 18cm Ø. Courtesy the Artist, copyright Eric Gregory Powell
(Venice, Italy) There was some discussion about the lack of a Venetian presence at the exhibition Fragile? at Le Stanze del Vetro, which is a joint initiative of the Giorgio Cini Foundation and Pentagram Stiftung to promote 20th Century Venetian glass. This press release from Le Stanze del Vetro is so well-written that I am going to publish it in its entirety. The Not Vital 700 Snowballs exhibition is a collaboration between the Swiss artist (with a very cool name) and the glassmasters on Murano, and will be opening at the same time as the Biennale International Contemporary Art exhibition.

Ciao from Venezia,
Cat
Venetian Cat - The Venice Blog

 On 1st June 2013, the exhibition Not Vital: 700 Snowballs, curated by Alma Zevi, opens to the public on the island of San Giorgio Maggiore in Venice. The exhibition is sponsored and promoted by Pentagram Stiftung, a Swiss private foundation dedicated to the study of glass. In 2012, the foundation launched Le Stanze del Vetro in partnership with the Fondazione Giorgio Cini, also on the island of San Giorgio Maggiore in Venice.

The exhibition is on show in the left wing of the Abbazia di San Giorgio Maggiore and will be open until 29th September 2013 from 10 am to 7 pm (free admission, closed on Wednesdays).

This presentation of Not Vital: 700 Snowballs, alongside the exhibition Fragile? concurrently on view at Le Stanze del Vetro, brings the visitor through a comprehensive mapping and understanding of the use of glass in contemporary art.

700 Snowballs is an installation consisting of 700 individually blown glass balls which bear striking resemblance to snowballs suspended in air. The snowballs rest directly on the floor, evenly and randomly spread. As each snowball is hand-blown by Vetreria Pino Signoretto in Murano, no two are identical – just as natural elements are never exactly repeated.

The installation creates a place of meditation, evoking the metamorphic, transformative and cyclical processes of nature. The luminous and reflective qualities of glass simultaneously reflect both the dense and yet ephemeral nature of snow. This mirrors the tension between the organic form and the inorganic material, between the durability of the artwork and the fragility of the elements it evokes.

As stated by curator Alma Zevi: "These balls remain, suspended in a moment, creating something that is fundamentally beautiful, and disconcertingly permanent in the world. This work is about human experience, a primary and universal encounter with nature and its physical substance".

700 Snowballs becomes an environment, a tranquil place of awe and contemplation. Inspired throughout his career by a childhood spent in the Swiss Alps, Vital has explored the contradictions of the harsh climate and vast landscapes that he knows so intimately. Indeed, the iconography of snow and its context has recurred throughout Vital's oeuvre – he has for instance used plaster to mould mountains that appear to be covered in snow, and has fabricated sleds from marble.

In 700 Snowballs, Not Vital succinctly and poetically presents to us the duality of water’s form when it freezes. It also makes us think of water’s importance in Venice: both in its attractive picturesque quality, which has long been symbolic of the city’s opulent history, and its more recent role as a serious threat to the city. 700 Snowballs explores the ever-rich potential of Venice glass-blowing tradition, despite our being in an era of industrial mass-production and cultural globalization. The installation is an unprecedented technical feat, and a fine example of the fruits that can be borne of an intimate and intellectually stimulating collaboration between a highly established artist, and the most skilled of Murano craftsmen.

On the occasion of the exhibition Not Vital: 700 Snowballs, artist Not Vital, in collaboration with glass master Simone Cenedese, will design a special limited artist edition glass artwork available for purchase at the bookshop of Le Stanze del Vetro. For more information, please contact info@lestanzedelvetro-libri.it

Concurrently, Not Vital will be presenting a selection of works on paper at Giorgio Mastinu Fine Art  (San Marco 3126, 30124 Venezia) from 28th May 2013. For further information please visit www.giorgiomastinufineart.it or contact +39 347 1828553.

With thanks to Abbazia di S. Giorgio Maggiore, Ruch & Partners Architects St. Moritz, and those donors who wish to remain anonymous

Biographical notes

photo: Eric Gregory Powell
Not Vital (b. 1948, Sent, Engadin, Switzerland) is at the international forefront of contemporary sculpture. A nomadic lifestyle has brought him to live and work periodically in every continent over the last 40 years. Currently he has a studio in Sent and Beijing, and ongoing relationships with craftspeople in Venice, Lucca, North Africa, Rio de Janiero and Patagonia. Not Vital took part in the 49th Venice Biennale (2001), curated by Harald Szeemann, with his work Plateau of Humanity. Since the mid 1970s, Not Vital has exhibited extensively and with international acclaim in galleries, museums and institutions.

1 comment:

  1. In 700 Snowballs, Not Vital succinctly and poetically presents to us the duality of water’s form when it freezes. It also makes us think of water’s importance in Venice: both in its attractive picturesque quality, which has long been symbolic of the city’s opulent history, and its more recent role as a serious threat to the city.

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