Xerjoff Magazine

Empathic: experimenting with glass

Writer

The many expressive possibilities of a fascinating and ancestral material like glass are explored in an exhibition curated by Luca Nichetto entitled "Empathic. Discovering a Glass Legacy" in Murano.

Curated by designer Luca Nichetto, “Empathic. Discovering a Glass Legacy” is an exhibition that invites you to confront Murano glass in a way that is free from predefined schemes and constraints. It is on show until April 10th 2022 in the rooms of InGalleria, the Art Gallery of Punta Conterie in Murano, and sees the participation of a series of designers – from Ini Archibong, Noé Duchaufour-Lawrance, GamFratesi, Benjamin Hubert, Richard Hutten, Elena Salmistraro and Marc Thorpe – who have created limited edition pieces for the event. No brief was given to the designers other than to conceive, design and experiment empathically with glass in its many forms: blown, reeded, casted… This starting point has thus given rise to a journey through archetypal forms, totems, objects capable of establishing a dialogue with the viewer through the codes of emotion, perception and in some cases memory. Produced by InGalleria Art Gallery under the direction of Alessandro Vecchiato with the participation of the best Murano glassworks, each specialising in a specific glassmaking technique, the installations and editions on show photograph the extraordinary artistic potential of the dialogue between master and designer, entering into the heart of Murano’s vocation: production. When I asked Luca Nichetto to conceive and curate this exhibition,” said Vecchiato, “I wanted to see what would happen if we all got involved, experimenting, disrupting the grammar of forms, techniques and the ingenuity of each of us to achieve unprecedented results. An objective perfectly achieved judging the quality and originality of the pieces on display.

Works in which executive ability meets pure creativity in an alchemic combination able to stimulate the spheres of research, experimentation, discovery or rediscovery of a heritage of the world of glass. Marc Thorpe expresses the nuances and flashes of the Venetian lagoon in “La Famiglia“, a collection of blown glass objects, some of which are pot-bellied, others slender – whose technique and formal solutions seem to float in the ether. Benjamin Hubert with “Granule” pays homage to the craftsmanship of the Murano glass masters, creating a series of objects in which different colours mark the various forms and textures of glass: smooth, satin-finished, fused, in grit. GamFratesi, finally, with “Palafit”, have created a small landscape composed of different shapes in blown glass lying on sections of wood obtained from the “bricole“, the traditional poles that draw the waterways through the lagoon.

Commenting on the work done by the designers involved in the exhibition, Luca Nichetto said: “I believe that the beauty of ‘Empathic’ cannot be expressed by a single piece, but rather by the fact that the process of creation had the sole intent of supporting Murano glass. And I like to think that we too are part of a rich tradition of designers who have worked with Murano glass over the years – such as Carlo Scarpa, Ettore Sottsass, not to mention more contemporary artists like Jeff Koons…”

Above: Empathic: “Granule”, Benjamin Hubert