2015 JUBILEE EXHIBITION “COLOURS”
The company Hempel celebrates its 100-year anniversary in 2015. That same year, it will be 50 years since the Hempel Glass Museum was established by J.C. Hempel as a home for his significant collection of international glass. This double anniversary calls for the creation of an exhibition showing the connection between the global company and international glass art, which was a passion of the founder. The anniversary will be celebrated by the Hempel Glass Museum with an impressive presentation of magnificent works by some of the world’s most revolutionary glass artists – works that have never before been shown in Denmark. The title of the exhibition is “COLOURS”, which is of course a throwback to the company Hempel’s colourful universe.
J.C. Hempel not only founded the company bearing his name but also a museum which reflects his personal interest for glass and the history of glass from ancient times to the present.
The anniversary is an occasion to present an identity-creating exhibition where focus is the story about J.C. Hempel and his passion for glass. The story is given a current perspective by linking the global company to the contemporary international glass art.
At the same time, the purpose of the exhibition is to share the museum’s vision for the future years to come as a museum focused on art and cultural history, transmitting the long history of glass as a bearer of culture as well as a trade in the many regions and countries in the world. Through alternating exhibitions, Hempel Glass Museum’s own collections will be put on display.
As a symbol of J.C. Hempel’s extensive activities and the development of the company as a global supplier of paint, the theme of the exhibition is the colour spectrum, COLOURS, which also emphasizes the rich variety of colours in the glass media. The use of glass challenges the concepts of modern art and handicraft art. The traditional concepts are changing which makes it increasingly difficult to give an unambiguous definition of modern international glass. But maybe this is no longer essential?
The exhibition presents 16 artists of 11 nationalities and gives you an insight of modern glass today. The participating artists each have a different artistic background. What brings them together is their choice of expressing themselves through the glass media. Many of the artists of the exhibition are working conceptually. They present relevant themes, often political, and in many cases they express the feeling of vulnerability and the exposed human being. Emilia and Iyla Kabakov from Russia are sending a political message about the human consequences of flight. Jeffrey Sarmiento from England comes from a family with immigrant background. His works are seen from the perspective of the “eternal stranger”.
The works by the Chinese artists Guan Donghai and Li Zhenning also have political undertones about life in China, historical as well as contemporary, and they contain references to Chinese mythology with myths about humans and animals. Silvia Levenson is working with the theme ”home” and its ambiguous status of safety and exposure. All these stories originate from the personal experiences or reflections of the artists and are relevant comments on today’s society.
Emilia and Iyla Kabakov from Russia are displaying a work where we see a strong and personal narration in the piece “The eternal Emigrant”. The work was created in cooperation with Berengo Studios for GLASSTRESS. In the workshop on Murano in Venice, Adriano Berengo gives artists the possibility to work with glass. In this encounter between artists and glassblower masters from the century-old glass environment on the island of Murano, rich on tradition, advanced contemporary works by artists, who usually work with other media, are created. The works are on display during the Venice Biennale at the exhibition GLASSTRESS.
Amber Cowan represents a new generation of glass artists working with environmental awareness. She uses recycled glass and by applying the “lamp glass” technique, she re-shapes it into up-cycled objects, obtaining a higher value. Amber’s works are aesthetically intense and are at the same time telling the history of the once so vivid but now extinct glass industry in the US.
The works by Anjali Srinivasan are conceptual and sculptural. India has a long tradition for producing glass bracelets on huge factories. Anjali uses these bracelets as raw material in her modern workshop practice. With this process, the artist is trying to conquer the upcoming loss of a traditional handicraft.
Amber Cowan and Anjali Srinivasan are artists as well as handicraft artists. Like Barbara Idzikowska & Marcin Litwa, Jeannet Iskandar, David Magan, Marta Klonowska, Mauro Eraldo, Silvia Levenson, Guan Donghai, Li Zhenning, Kang Min Haeng, Patrycia Dubiel and Jeffrey Sarmiento they apply their own profound knowledge of the material and their technical skills to express artistic ideas in glass. As handicraft artists with many years of experience, they manage to utilize the unique property of the glass in a manner where the material redeems the idea and tells a personal story in an aesthetically interesting way.
David Magan from Spain is working on large geometric, colourful and architectural installations. Light is a basic element in his work, especially natural light which is often changeable and dynamic. It is perfect to show the complexity of glass and emphasizes the colours and effects of the material. In the process of curating “COLOURS”, it was an obvious choice to invite David to create a location-specific work in front of the huge panorama window in the exhibition hall, lit by daylight only.
It has been the wish of the museum to invite the visitors of Hempel Glass Museum to experience contemporary and striking works in glass, created by artists from regions of the world where Hempel is active.
Exhibition expenditure: Hempel Foundation. Exhibition concept: Hempel Culture Foundation. Exhibition curator: glass artist Susanne Jøker Johnsen. Exhibition architect: Josephine Malling.
See the exhibition newspaper here