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The stunningly beautiful Palazzo Cavalli-Franchetti houses part of this year’s GLASSTRESS, a special exhibition of glassworks forged by nearly 40 participating contemporary artists.
The palace’s spectacular interior is jarringly juxtaposed—yet astoundingly complimented—by Erwin Wurm’s signature dancing sausages, Paul McCarthy’s infamous butt plugs, and large-scale installations such as intricate glass chandeliers.
But GLASSTRESS is not limited to the interior and grounds of the palazzo; the exhibition also takes place on the island of Murano, the point of origin for Venetian glass. Organized by the Fondazione Berengo, GLASSTRESS aims to “revitalize and re-energize the glass industry in Murano so that it can take its place, once more, as the world-renowned centre of the glass industry…” Furthermore, the initiative aims to “educate those who are already interested in the art of glass-making, inspire those who are looking for a new medium for their work, and re-establish glass making as a skill and craft of the highest significance.”
Some of the biggest names in art, from Swiss sculptor Ugo Rondinone to tech art collective Random International, are present in the showcase. Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, who made his GLASSTRESS (and glass art) debut this year, called the Fondazione Berengo initiative “exceptionally brilliant” for the ways in which it “develop[s] this old technique into a new language.”
“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 press release explains. “The remarkable output of this unusual encounter defies the stereotypes associated with this ancient craft, ultimately pushing the boundaries of both contemporary art and glass.”
Showcasing small glass objects alongside large installations, GLASSTRESS 2017 is a nod to a beloved Venetian tradition, and an exceptional component of the 57th Venice Biennale.
Organized by Fondazione Berengo, GLASSTRESS is on view at Palazzo Cavalli-Franchetti, S. Marco, 2847, 30124 Venezia, and in the Berengo Exhibition Space, Campiello della Pescheria, Murano until November 26, 2017.