On Murano his work, titled A Different Self, is an elaborate oversized black Murano-glass-framed video of a slightly animated version of Georges de la Tour's famous painting of Mary Magdalen in front of a mirror with a skull on her lap and a candle on the table in front of her. Unfortunately it seems to be impossible to photograph this image without getting oneself in the picture too; maybe that's intentional.
I was very struck by two cases of bizarre marionettes by the artist Wael Shawky, titled Cabaret Crusades, The Secrets of Karbalaa, 2014. Only when we returned home did I learn that Shawky used these marionettes to make videos of conflict that were on view at the MOMA PS 1 in New York. They are bizarre and fascinating creatures, both human and animal. And to know that the artist used them to call attention to centuries of conflict connects them with both the Gothic theme and issues of life today.
A pair of extra long glass crutches hanging from on high by Turkish artist Erdag Aksal seemed quite decorative from a distance, but the title, Crescent Disabled, 2015, and the details of grenades etched into the glass clarified its, and his purpose.
Another aspect of the Glasstress show is the fascinating venues. The Istituto Veneto is a gorgeous building and many of its rooms have significant Murano chandeliers. Petah Coyne took advantage of one to hang long strings of glass beads from it. On the table full of glass mirrors I found a few candles, referencing the wax I usually associate with her work.
|Petah Coyne, Mirror, Mirror, 2015, detail|
On Murano the rugged remains of a glass factory create a completely different environment, where Maria Grazia Rosin's strange green creatures, Gothik Mechanical Meateaters, 2015, seem right at home.
There are 53 artists represented in the two-part exhibition; I have learned about a few of them in writing this essay, and shared some images. But I haven't mentioned the inventor of the video game Syberia, Benoit Sokol and his glass mastodons, or Ernst Billgren's Duck Cathedral, or the Chapmans glass skulls, The Same but in Glass, or Karen van Mednelen's eerie Siren, 2015, made from glass and crowfeathers, or Hila Amram's Still Glass, 2015, antique glass with video projections. It's a very rich and varied exhibition, the work connected both by its medium and by its connection to the concept of the Gothic seen in the contemporary world.