MusVerre: A Museum for Everyone
TLmag speaks with Eleonore Peretti, the recently appointed Director of MusVerre, a dynamic museum in Northern France dedicated to glass.
Housed in a modern, bluestone building in the northern French countryside of Sars-Poteries, MusVerre shines a spotlight on the beauty and depth of glassmaking. The museum is a cultural touchstone for the region, with its active exhibition calendar and artist-in-residence program, along with an extensive collection of over 800 pieces, which includes contemporary and historic pieces.
TLmag: You have recently taken over as Director of the museum. What are you looking forward to in this new role? What excites you about being with this unique institution?
Eleonore Peretti: I am first of all honoured to have been chosen for this new adventure, and lucky to be able to work with such a great team, in beautiful surroundings, promoting and documenting a unique collection of historic and contemporary glass work. I am quite new to the field of glass, which allows me to learn every day, and to keep marvelling at this fascinating material. As for the museum in itself, it has a huge potential, which I think is still to be fully released. For instance, we are working on making it more accessible and open to everyone, welcoming any individual and giving them an unforgettable experience. It is so inspiring to try new things in this field, and to meet people with different visions as well!
TLmag: What is the vision of the MusVerre contemporary collection? How is it evolving into the 21st century? Is there a focus on younger and emerging talent as well as established artists?
E.P.: There are more than 800 works in our contemporary collection, and it keeps getting richer and richer. Whether it is by donations or acquisitions, we keep trying to provide visitors with a more complete vision of the main contemporary glass movements.
We are also very keen on developing the link between the museum and the artists through residencies in the Workshop. We mainly look for new talents to give them the opportunity to develop their potential in our beautiful and fully equipped premises. This mission has always been one of the most important for us, and must remain at the core of our mission. In the past three years, we have been developing links with glass schools such as the IKKG (Coblence) and the HEAR (Strasbourg) and want to keep on welcoming students and very young artists to help them express their visions.
In the future, it will also be really interesting to focus on important contemporary artists who are not glass experts per se, but have developed an interest for this matter.
TLmag: Within the collection, is there a focus on nature and landscape themes? How is this represented?
E.P.: There are indeed many works in the museum depicting nature in various ways; in fact, there is even a dedicated room in the contemporary section that focuses on it, through some beautiful pieces. One of my favourites is Verdures by Sylvie Vandenhoucke, a delicate work she created during her 2010 residency at the museum’s Workshop. Although inspired by tapestries depicting in great detail, every tiny blade of grass in a landscape (hence the name Verdures), she created an all-white composition based on tiny prints in pate de verre, woven on a canvas. I also love Keiko Mukaide or Michèle Perozeni’s works, as they manage to translate their inner landscapes into poetic sculptures.
As for our visitors, they are very fond of the works exhibited in the garden that reflect the landscape and offer a new level of interpretation.
TLmag: Do the artists-in-residence who come to MusVerre often look at the museum’s archives and history when making new work onsite? Are they interested in the landscape and surroundings as part of their research and inspiration while in residence?
E.P.: Many of the artists invited, and particularly the foreigners, take the time to immerse themselves into their new environment. Some of them come to the Workshop with a plan and won’t deviate from it, but most allow themselves to discover their surroundings. They are usually fascinated by the bocage landscape and the way the museum interacts with it, arising from the terrain’s contours and playing with the relief. We are lucky to be situated in the Avesnois Natural Regional park, which has many cultural, natural but also culinary assets!
The history of the village and the museum is also an important part of the artists’ inspiration. We have had some beautiful residencies on these themes such as Philipa Beveridge (2009), who collected local memories, or Sally Fawkes, in 2017, who documented her journey to Sars-Poteries through photographs, drawings and beautifully carved and sculpted glass pieces.
TLmag: What are some of the museum’s upcoming exhibitions for 2022?
E.P.: From February to August, we will have a beautiful exhibition, “Cabinet of Curiosities”, that will, for the first time, gather together amazing contemporary works from international artists. The visitors will wander through the marvels of nature, from the smallest beings to the biggest creatures, reflecting upon life and death… it will be a must-see event, with many surprises throughout the duration of the exhibition.
From September 2022, we will be very pleased to welcome artist Jeremy Maxwell Wintrebert for a solo show featuring some of his recent pieces, including Gravity Ripples #3, an impressive 9- metre long work composed of glass crone-rings of various sizes, in shades of cobalt blue.
The MusVerre have plenty of wonderful things in store for the next years, so keep in touch with us!