Unbreakable: Women In Glass
This landmark exhibition of Fondazione Berengo explores the creative idiosyncrasies of glass work produced by female artists who continue to be sidelined in the art world.
“This exhibition is a child of the pandemic. It represents a recovery, a renaissance, a big bang. The fragility of glass and the exclusive focus on women artists symbolize a new starting point. Together, both vital components represent care and a new world. Feminine strength and perseverance are crucial in this.” Koen Vanmechelen (Co-Curator ‘Unbreakable: Women in Glass’)
Until January 2021, the works of 64 international glass artists (all women) will be taking over the space of Fondazione Berengo in Murano (Italy). Curated and selected by curators Nadja Romain and Koen Vanmechelen, the exhibition combines artworks from Berengo Studio’s vast thirty-year-old archive with brand-new sculptures that were made during and in the aftermath of Italy’s invasive (and devastating) COVID-19 lockdown.
Winner of the Bonhams Prize for The Venice Glass Week 2020 ‘Unbreakable: Women in Glass’ is a unique opportunity to see an array of international and award-winning female artists put centre stage. It’s no coincidence that the focus of this exhibition lies particularly within the reception of works made by female glass artists, as the scene in Murano (arguably the center of glassmaking within Italy) is predominantly if not exclusively, dominated by men. Additionally, the ‘traditional’ figure of the master glassmaker working in the furnace is also primarily thought of to be a man. This exhibition is a first attempt at breaking the, yes, *glass* ceiling that needs to be shattered – and quickly – within this medium. Presenting the works of female glass artists from Australia and China to Brazil and Argentina to Syria and Kuweit, and beyond, Venice “functions as a laboratory of the future”, says (co-curator) Nadja Romain.
“In history, the male side of humanity has rarely valued women for fear of losing power,” concludes Koen Vanmechelen. “Time has long been due to name legendary icons — inspiring artworks signed by women so that history can no longer be stolen. A memorable glass expo on Murano’s island can kick off a fragile yet determined movement that reflects the harshness of life that has no fear of being broken. The invisibility and transparency of glass shape a new generation while healing scars from history.”
‘Unbreakable: Women in Glass’ is on view until January 7th, 2021 at Fondazione Berengo Art Space (Italy). A unique catalogue will be produced with contributions from (among others)Susan Fisher Sterling, Director of the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C., Gabriella Belli, Director of the Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia, Agnes Husslein-Arco, who dives into the gendered history of art in Austria, as well as a text by Rosa Barovier Mentasti, who explores the role of women in the history of Murano furnaces.
Cover Photo: Monica Bonvicini, In My Hand, 2019. Photo: Francesco Allegretto; courtesy the artist and Berengo Studio.