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Carlo Brandelli: Sculpted Glass

After decades of lying on the shores of Murano islands, surplus glass blocks are sculpted as marble by designer Carlo Brandelli. RCM Galerie in Paris until 6 Feb 2016.

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Text by Heini Lehtinen

RCM Galerie in Paris presents a series of designer and artist Carlo Brandelli’s glass sculptures in an exhibition Left Glass. The name refers to the nature of Brandelli’s unique sculptures – each is made of a piece of Murano glass that has been considered surplus material and abandoned to the shores of the Murano islands in Venice, Italy, for decades.

Exposure to time, sunlight and salty sea give the originally unwanted glass pieces a distinctive aqua hue. Against Murano glassmaking traditions and material characteristics of glass, Brandelli’s sculptures are worked similarly to sculpting stone or marble.

“In Murano islands, I would arrive by the sea to abandoned glass deposits where I found this unwanted ‘left glass,’ large blocks of pulled crystal poured from decades ago,” says Brandelli. “This unwanted glass is shunned by its craftsmen as the glass cannot be re-heated, or given traditional vibrant colour through minerals.”

“I began to experiment to understand if this ‘left glass’ could be used as a raw material to sculpt from ‘cold,’ the way in which you could sculpt from other materials such as stone or marble – challenging the traditional way in which Murano had worked previously, either blowing or pulling glass with heat processes. After much resistance from the artisans who were concerned that sculpting glass would be impossible due to fracture, I found a way to work new abstract shapes and using several machines and processes, carve, mill, sand texture and polish this found glass into new sculptural forms.”

“The shapes that ‘came’ were strangely reminiscent of the natural forms and colours of the ocean where the mineral once came from, as if the sea had returned again in a new permanent form.”

Carlo Brandelli established his own design studio in 2009 after building a prominent career in fashion as a designer and creative director in menswear. In addition to working with clients privately and still continuing as the creative director of bespoke menswear brand Kilgour, Brandelli now also focuses on artistic work. His first sculpture solo show Permanence 2010 – Travertine Marble Stone and Gold was presented at RCM Galerie in Paris in 2010. He has collaborated with American contemporary artist Matthew Brannon with several works for Casey Kaplan Gallery in New York, and shown at Frieze Art Fair in London. •

Exhibition Carlo Brandelli: Left Glass at RCM Galerie in Paris, France, on 23 January–6 February 2016.

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