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The Cirva Goes to Venice

In A Furnace in Marseille, the Fondazione Querini Stampalia and Le Stanze del Vetro are showcasing the work of 17 artists in residence at the French glassmaking institution

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Text by Rab Messina

Venice and Marseille have many things in common: both cities have an inextricable relationship with water and are known for reimagining the possibilities of glassmaking. This spring, with an exhibition titled A Furnace in Marseille.Cirva, the Italian city is celebrating the work of its French sister-in-glass.

Isabelle Reiher, director of the Centre international de recherche sur le verre et les arts plastiques (Cirva) and Chiara Bertola, curator of contemporary art at the Fondazione Querini Stampalia, have chosen the work of 17 artists and designers who have been in residence at the Marseille institution in the last 30 years.

At the Querini Stampalia, the duo has chosen to display the work of eight artists who see glass as the translation of a thought: Dove Allouche, James Lee Byars, Giuseppe Caccavale, Hreinn Fridfinnsson, Philippe Parreno, Remo Salvadori, Jana Sterbak and Francisco Tropa.

For the second part of the exhibition, taking place at Le Stanze del Vetro, the curators decided to present, in detail, the role of the Bouches-du-Rhône workshop, known for its standing as a research laboratory, in the resulting pieces. This personalised setup features work by Larry Bell, Pierre Charpin, Lieven De Boeck, Erik Dietman, Tom Kovachevich, Giuseppe Penone, Jana Sterbak, Martin Szekely, Robert Wilson and Terry Winters.

“The exhibition stems from the awareness that glass is not a material but a condition: a visual device that helps to identify something other than its pure form,” said the curators. “It allows us to imagine the translation of an idea, to grasp the concretion of a vision’s inner energy, to touch the colour of a profound insight and to show the hardness of a solid that dissolves into brilliance.”

A Furnace in Marseille.Cirva is open until June 24 at the Fondazione Querini Stampalia and until July 29 at Le Stanze del Vetro.

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The Cirva workshop in 2017.

Image by David Giancatarina

Cover image
Le Petit Ange rouge (detail), 1991-1993

Image by Cécile Capelle
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Armenia (detail), 2018

Image by David Giancatarina
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Lampe de bureau, 2017

Image by David Giancatarina
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Concept 5, 1994-2004

Image by David Giancatarina
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Marseille Template #15, 2004-2006

Image by J-L Maby
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Gravità 0°, in process

Image by Cécile Capelle
cirva venice
Mikado LDB Modulor (detail), 2012-2013

Image courtesy of Galerie Meessen de Clercq

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