May 1 – September 20, 2016
Curated by Adriano Berengo and Gerrit Williams
Dordrechts Museum | DordtYart |Huis Van Gijn | Dordts Patriciërshuis, Dordrecht, The Netherlands
Dordrecht, the Netherlands’ oldest municipality, finds in Venice, in glass and in that water that characterizes it, common elements that inspired an innovative art project, honored with the patronage of the two historical cities.
From May 1 to September 20, 2016, art aficionados in Dordrecht were able to visit , Glassfever – Contemporary Art in Glass, a diffused exhibition project dedicated to Adriano Berengo’s vision. Berengo is the president of Fondazione Berengo and the owner of Berengo furnace where glass and the skills of furnace masters of Murano give life to a fertile research environment.
“Glassfever – Contemporary Art in Glass” was the ideal continuation of “The Secret of Murano” that back in 1997 at the Hague – Het Paleis (the Queen’s Palace), made it evident how the skill of the Glass Masters, represented by the great Alfredo Barbini, Archimede Seguso, and Lino Tagliapietra, made available to contemporary artists new, exciting technical possibilities.
For “Glassfever – Contemporary Art in Glass”, Gerrit Willems, curator of the Modern and Contemporary Art Department at Dordrechts Museum, chose more than 80 pieces by 60 world-famous artists. All artworks had been made in Murano and had been, other than in Dordrechts Museum, in prestigious venues such as DordtYard, Huis Van Gijn, and Dordts Patriciërshuis.
“Glassfever – Contemporary Art in Glass” is a passionate portrait of Adriano Berengo’s “factory project”, that has been introducing the magic of glass to artists for more than 25 years, with a special consideration for those who worked with it for the first time and were more likely to contribute innovative curiosity and sensibility. Berengo Studio 1989 represents one of the most interesting agents in the world of international contemporary art, a cultural project whose success is proved by the fact that it involved, up to today, more than 300 artists from all over the globe.
Owing to this, Fondazione Berengo, by promoting an innovative model of “artist’s residence”, gave five international artists chosen by the Dutch institutions,Rossella Biscotti, Folkert de Jong, Zoro Feigl, Thomáš Libertíny and Giny Vos, the chance to experiment with the creative capabilities of Murano glass and make new art.
Fondazione Berengo wanted and obtained the patronage of Consorzio Promovetro that, thanks to the contributions of around 50 businesses in Murano, has always been committed to the custody and promotion of this ancient art, today safeguarded and recognized in all the world with the brand “Vetro Artistico® Murano” given by the Veneto Region. Promovetro will cooperate with Glassfever with a choice of precious objects from the Venetian Renaissance to modern Home Living design.
“Glassfever” took place in four main venues: Dordrechts Museum, DordtYart, Huis Van Gijn, and Dordts Patriciërshuis.
In Dordrechts Museum, the keys to understanding the exhibition focused on an ideal comparison between contemporary and classical art, where the latter can be interpreted in light of the most recent innovation in glass art. Among the 35 artists nominated for this location there was: Luigi Benzoni, Jake and Dinos Chapman, Tony Cragg, Tracey Emin, Jan Fabre, Marya Kazoun, ORLAN, Mimmo Paladino, Javier Pérez, Wael Shawky, Shan Shan Sheng, Lino Tagliapietra, Gavin Turk, Koen Vanmechelen, Fred Wilson, and Erwin Wurm.
In DordtYart, the city’s atelier and the object of a reclamation project of a former shipyard, the focus was primarily on large-scale, site-specific installations by modern and contemporary artists and on the creative process they followed during their residency in Murano. A furnace was installed in the main hall and live demonstration of glassmaking was held.
“Life Bank Project” by Belgian artist Koen Vanmechelen found a new life in this large, enchanting venue. A real “event within the event”, this interactive installation dedicated to biodiversity and ancient crops, developed in cooperation with the international Slow Food movement, was enhanced in its 2016 version with the cooperation of a young artist from Dordrecht: food designer Marije Vogelzang.
In the same venue, visitors were able to see more large-scale art and installations created within the scope of “Residenza d’Artista” project of Fondazione Berengo by Rossella Biscotti, Folkert de Jong, Zoro Feigl, Thomáš Libertíny, and Giny Vos, as well as sculptures by international artists including Pino Castagna, Soyeon Cho, Zhang Huan, Atelier Van Lieshout, Kate MccGwire, Atelier Ted Noten, Recycle Group, Joana Vasconcelos.
In the spectacular museum-houses Huis Van Gijn and Dordts Patriciërhuis contemporary art interacts with the historical environment, so visitors will be able to enjoy, among others, pieces by Elvira Bach, Luigi Benzoni, Kiki van Eijk, Kiki Kogelnik, Ruud Schoemaker, Lolita Timofeeva, and Bertil Vallien. All art is housed in the halls of patrician residencies in Dordrecht together with original furniture.
In Huis Van Gijn, for this occasion only, the reconstruction of the original Flemish table was exchanged with a Venetian mise-en-place, certain that, at the time of Renaissance splendor, European courts loved to experiment with different styles and culture in the name of beauty. This wonderful hall, furnished in Flemish-Venetian taste, will become the key to enter a special exhibition. Salviati furnace and Abate Zanetti Glass School contributed to the experience.
Dordrechts Museum reserved a particular mention to Maestro Lino Tagliapietra, already a protagonist of the acclaimed 1997 exhibition “The Secret of Murano”. Lino Tagliapietra shines in the history of Italian contemporary art as the one to combine the Venetian school with the artistic exuberance of post-WWII America in the Studio Glass experience.
To complete the journey of “Glassfever – Contemporary Art in Glass” there was no way to do without an old and incredibly fascinating collection of glass objects given to the exclusive benefit of the City of Dordrecht by the Museum of Murano Glass and chosen, in cooperation with MUVE – Foundation of Venice City Museums, by Rosa Barovier Mentasti, curator and art historian who has been studying Murano glass for over forty years.
“Glassfever – Contemporary Art in Glass” was enriched by a cross-cultural project that involved restaurants, wine bars, pizzerias, ice cream parlors, cafés, and tea rooms in Dordrecht to let visitors immerse completely, all five senses, in the atmosphere of Italian lifestyle.