Curated by Dimitry Ozerkov, Herwig Kempinger and Adriano Berengo, Glasstress spans two locations in Venice this year, the Palazzo Franchetti and the Murano factory on Murano Island. As an ongoing project running since 2009, the exhibition celebrating the glass blowing tradition, native to the Italian region, has deemed itself worthy of every Venice Biennale so far.
The Berengo Foundation stands out for its efforts to create alliances with international artists, who are invited to apply their contemporary vision within the frame of an ancient craft. This year’s edition includes works by 33 artists, among them Ai Weiwei, Jan Fabre, Abdulnasser Gharem, Alicja Kwade, Paul McCarthy, Laure Prouvost, Ugo Rondinone, Thomas Schütte, Dustin Yellin and Sarah Sze.
Belgian transdisciplinary artist Koen Vanmechelen, one of the most prolific artists in his country at the moment, has produced a massive piece entitled Protected Paradise that positively overwhelmed the garden space of Palazzo Franchetti. A caged egg augmented by a chicken’s leg, with aquatic-coloured chunks of broken glass lying on the ground beneath it make one wonder about the eccentric character of the artist. This project, supported by ECO-oh!, symbolises the endangered present and the relationship of the space with the sustainability movement.
Within the palazzo, wherever one turns a new story made of glass unravels. Highlights include Brooklyn-based artist Dustin Yellin’s multi-layered transparent boxes, each containing a suspended cinematic setting, like a shipwreck or a subterranean ecosystem.
In Murano, French artist Loris Greaud makes his debut by reviving an abandoned glass furnace through a performance-based exhibition. Under the curatorial expertise of Nicolas Bourriaud, the show entitled The Unplayed Notes Factory brings spectators onto the island to take part in a sort of spatial resurrection dictated by the artist’s ephemeral choreography.
A version of this article appeared in print in Selections, The Biennial & Museum Acquisitions #41, page 105.