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Musée de design et d'arts appliqués contemporains opens contemporary glass art exhibition
Hassan Khan, The Knot, 2012 (detail) © Atelier de numérisation de la Ville de Lausanne.

LAUSANNE.- Living Glass II is the second installment of the mudac’s latest contemporary glass art exhibition and presents a broad selection of works and installations by today’s glass creators of many nationalities—Swiss, European, American and Asian. Bearing witness to the very idea of glass art, pieces ranging from sculpture to edition design all translate the museum conservation team’s open and ongoing approach, as assisted and supported by the Collection’s patron.

The ensuing major canvassing program has brought to light the incredible diversity and dynamism of the contemporary scene with respect to such a singular and demanding material. This new set of works represents a very far-spreading, overall view of contemporary glass art production in Switzerland and around the world. Today, joining those regions and countries that first launched the major groundbreaking trends reinstating glass internationally, there are countless initiatives by artists and designers who have forgone any formal education in the mastery of this material. Designers and artists are linking up with master glass artists to work together. As a result, on the one hand, today’s glass art features spectacularly intricate and beautifully mastered pieces with an undeniably aesthetic impact and, most importantly, encompassing the tradition and know-how of the famous major centers of the second half of the 20th century. These now exist side-byside with more experimental pieces that can even be highly conceptual, and are often very singular in shape or statement. In their fascination with the very particular world of glass art production, the latest generation of artists and designers now test, experiment and question the practices such production entails, but always—and necessarily—in tandem with today’s master glass artists. The many pathways being travelled by creators stemming from at times very distant horizons attest to the liveliness of the contemporary glass art scene. Mudac is happy to put its acquisitions policy at the service of that scene’s plurality and dynamism.

Artists: Sam Baron, Pascal Broccolichi, Dean Brown, Valentina Carretta, Katharine Coleman, Alessandro Diaz de Santillana, Juli Bolaños Durman, Sally Fawkes, Elise Fouin, Hrrein Fridfinnsson, Josepha Gasch-Muche, Charlotte Juillard, Hassan Khan, Simon Klenell, Tomas Libertiny, Jessica Loughlin, Nendo, Yoichi Ohira, Sandrine Pelletier, Jaromir Rybak, Gizela Sabokova, Daniela Schönbächler, Studio Formafantasma, Kazue Taguchi, Deborah Timperley, Midori Tsukada, Ales Vasicek, Holger Walter, Ann Wolff, Ryu Yamamoto, Giorgia Zanellato.

Architecture began resorting to glass already in the late 19th century and even more so during the 20th. Moreover, since 1950, this material itself has evolved in unique fashion, as documented by the Mudac collection over the last forty years. Be it for monumental sculpture, art works or design pieces, glass has in fact become a choice material that is truly contemporary.

The properties of glass are as singular as they are fascinating—ever intimating the paradoxical and challenging our perception of mass, volume and space. Like no other medium, glass brings into play metaphor, and even the temporal dimension. Moreover, not only does it easily imitate other materials, but it also can be turned into whimsy, be transformed into kitsch, or else serve to inspire contemplation. Essentially a plain material, in its crystalline form glass becomes precious. Certainly it comes as no surprise that a material that is so proteiform, so highly expressive, is held in great esteem by such a diversity of creators.

Today’s artists, designers and the public at large are showing renewed interest in glass, reflecting their curiosity about the creative process, a certain form of tradition and the handcrafting of a material. The mudac conservation department has done its canvassing in different realms of creativity, discovering sculpture pieces directly tied to the studio glass movement (generally entailing impressively large one-off works), contemporary art works that often avail themselves of this medium to metaphorical ends and, finally, the design field’s explorations devoted to lighting fixtures, mirrors and vases. By definition, glass sits at the intersection of art, design and handicrafts. Therefore it is all the more suited to such transdisciplinary realms of creative endeavor as “design d’auteur” or art design.

The exhibition Living Glass II invites viewers to discover glass’s wealth of expressivity for themselves, and to take stock of the technical qualities and variety of approaches belonging to the creators who have joined the Mudac collection over these last seven years.

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