After Nyne @ Venice Biennale: Glasstress ‘Gothika’ 56 Le Biennale Venice

For their latest piece in our After Nyne @ Venice Biennale series, our representatives on the scene – Richard Scarry and Chippy Coates report from Glasstress.  

Glasstress has become a major attraction at the Biennale,  Glasstress 2015 ‘Gothika’ curated by Dr. Dimitri Ozerkov, Director of The Hermitage Contemporary Art Department explores how medieval ideas and communication methods have imperceptibly crept into our modern conscience despite our technological advances and how the Gothic concept influences contemporary art. Artist from 20 countries have worked for over a year with Berengo and The Hermitage to create what is definitely one of the highlights of this years Biennale, a must visit if you heading out this summer.

Walking into the beautiful building of the Palazo Franchettei on the Grand Canal we were excited to see the results of collaboration of numerous artists and the glassmakers at Berengo Glass. The scale and depth of some of the works in collaboration with the Berengo artisans is impressive and awe inspiring. To see artists not just having their work remade in a glass form but to have a dialogue and tension between the glass and the vision is what we found so impressive.

On entering and walking up the marble staircase we are confronted by a suit of armor made of steel and glass by Australian artist Penny Byrne that somehow feels like an artifact from the archives of the Hermitage, on closer viewing you realize it is a contemporary sculpture inspired by suits of armor, a reminder of the need to protect oneself in riots, wars and conflict.

Screen Shot 2015-06-10 at 15.41.48


Kate MccGwires stunning black matt glass and crow feather work undulates across the floor with a seductive unsettling vibe, this extraordinary work is organic and looks alive. Kate MccGwire has pushed the glass artisans skills to create a complex piece of glass to act as the anchor of her sprawling seductive work.


Screen Shot 2015-06-10 at 15.42.32

Petah Coyne’s adoption of a Murano chandler, vanity mirror, etc fills a room with glittering colour and vibrancy. Sinuous strands of decorated glass beads conjures up images of the ‘Fairy Tale’ bedroom and dream like environments.

Screen Shot 2015-06-10 at 15.43.18



Joanna Vasconcelos, one of our favorite international installation artist has created a wall piece from which crazy other worldly  pom pom shapes of glass and extrude the form. A homage to the religious altars of the past.

Screen Shot 2015-06-10 at 15.43.59


Chapman Brothers works was four iridescent skulls entirely made of glass each signifying forms of rot and decay in almost fluorescent colors.

Screen Shot 2015-06-10 at 15.44.37


 Keon Vanmechele, a beautiful bust of  a Medusa like figure with roosters and chickens coming from her head carries his dialogue and fascination for his larger installations and projects with his obsession of the bird and nature.
Screen Shot 2015-06-10 at 15.45.03


Wim Delvoye from Belgium produced Calliope stained glass windows with imagery taken from anatomy x-rays of people cuffed and chained.

Screen Shot 2015-06-10 at 15.45.36


Getting the boat across to the island of Murano to see the other part of this exhibition we are awed bby Lonneke Gordijn and Ralph Nauta creation, one of the most serene and noteworthy works on the island of Murano with a ceiling of Glass, bronze, electronics, and wire that moved in a wave like motion.

Screen Shot 2015-06-10 at 15.46.05


Kate MccGwire once again surprises and delights with a large table top work with iridescent feathers coming to life from a glass base.

Screen Shot 2015-06-10 at 15.46.39

Large scale work of bronze and glass honoring nature – Lucy & Jorge Orta

Screen Shot 2015-06-10 at 15.47.10