April 7, 2012 - January 2013
Organized and created at Museum of Glass
Venetian artists Laura de Santillana and Alessandro Diaz de Santillana have joined forces to create Scapes, a dynamic and entirely new body of work. The siblings share an impressive pedigree in glass. They are the grandchildren of Paolo Venini, the founder of Venini, an innovative glassworks in Murano, Italy. Their father, Ludovico Diaz de Santillana, was the director of Venini and also designed for the company. In addition to a family legacy in glass, both Laura and Alessandro are respected artists who have enjoyed successful solo careers. Scapes is all the more fascinating because it represents not only their first combined museum exhibition, but also their conjoined interpretations of an aspect of Hindu cosmology.
The exhibition comprises four rooms based on the Hindu belief that the universe is divided into separate spheres of existence: Earth, Space, Sun, and Moon and Constellations. The de Santillanas have interpreted elements of the Hindu cosmology in glass, creating spaces in which forms and colors correspond to physical phenomena, or the visible universe, and evoke an atmosphere of cosmic vibration. Each installation is composed of a limited, but strikingly vibrant, color palette.
Smoky gray, gold, blue and deep red define the Earth room, which is the first sphere of existence. Although the Space room is composed almost entirely in shades of white and silver, it contains a golden egg that
signifies the origin of the universe. Silver, burnt gold, white, copper and indigo delineate the Sun installation, while the Moon and Constellations are white, black and silver.
Each room includes a combination of both artists’ work, with Alessandro’s glass paintings installed on the wall and Laura’s glass sculptures on the floor. Alessandro’s work is distinctive—his 20 glass paintings were created from large, color-saturated cylinders that were slumped open into vibrant, painterly compositions. Laura’s work is equally striking. Her elegantly sculpted forms, displayed singularly and in small groupings, represent linga, mountains, celestial eggs and stars.
All of the work for Scapes was produced entirely at the Museum of Glass, where the artists merged time-honored traditions of Italian glass making with the organic fluidity of the American Studio Glass movement. The de Santillanas’ work was produced in the course of two lengthened Visiting Artist residencies in February and September 2010.
The exhibition is accompanied by a full-color catalog published by the University of Washington Press. Essayists include Dr. Balkrishna Doshi, an architect of international standing and founder of the Vastu-Shilpa Foundation for Studies and Research in Environmental Design; David Landau, international businessman, collector and art scholar; and Francesco Da Rin De Lorenzo, a renown architect who has close ties to the Venini de Santillana family and a scholarly interest in glass as both an architectural and artistic material. The publication includes a DVD documenting the creation of the work in the Hot Shop as well as the completed installations.