Glass is liquid. Made from sand, soda, and limestone at 1250 degrees Celsius. Not even in its cool, congealed state, are the glass’ molecules locked in place. They lay scattered and form the astonishingly stable supercooled liquid that is glass.
Glass is transparent. One can look through it, as if it were an invisible membrane. Yet, one can also look at it, as a physically present object. With the aid of glass, we can alter perspective and focus without having to move our bodies. One moment it is there, the next it is as if it does not exist.
Glass is strong. If not subjected to forceful hits, the environment does not affect it much. It can withstand weather and wind, and simply be durable, resistant, and even stubborn. Yet glass is also fragile, and can break into a thousand pieces. You may be able to glue it together piece by piece, yet the characteristic surface – whether matt or shiny – will be lost forever, and the glue joints will be vulnerable. So that piece of glass might be lost if the accident has happened, if one has not been careful.
Glass is hard to control, and hard to define. All its paradoxes as a material, makes it full of potential for symbolism. These properties are reasons why it can be associated with the luxurious, even decadent; something one would expect to do without in times of crises.
The exhibition “States of Glass” takes a closer look at artistic examination of glass as a material. The participating artists all work within a Nordic context. After the advent of the studio glass movement in the 1960s, many glass works popped up throughout the Nordic countries. In addition, college level education was made available in Sweden and Denmark. This lead to the current strong position of glass art in the Nordic countries. In Denmark and Sweden in particular, the discourse and practice surrounding glass as an experimental and sculptural medium is vibrant. For the exhibition, we have invited a selection of artists who examine the various expressive potential of glass. They stretch and bend the inherent qualities of the material and use them to their fullest to create sculptures that additionally can point to something outside of themselves. Art and crafts in general, and glass blowing in particular, can be seen as a form of silent knowledge located in the hands and the body. Knowledge arising by actively creating and collaborating with what the world consists of. It is a practical and not a theoretical skill; a practice that arises in collaboration between humans, tools, and materials. The silent knowledge within arts and crafts and glass art will still often result in “talking” objects. For the exhibition “States of Glass”, focus is directed towards both the specific material properties of glass as well as the abilities of these to say something essential about our existence. The word crisis has become a common word. The combination of climate change, political polarization, and the pandemic has led us to a constant state of preparedness. In what way can the unique material properties of glass be used to express something crucial about the times we live in?
Curated by Vidar Koksvik og Torill Østby Haaland.
Image: Maria Koshenkova: Blue Thin Liberty. Photo: Kurt Rodahl Hoppe.
As part of this exhibition project an artist-in-residence program is organized at the end of the exhibition period, as well as a public program.
Follow us here at nnks.no for information about physical and streamed public events featuring co-created performance by the artist duo Frantzsen&Mjanger, lectures by art historians Mette Bielefeldt Bruun and Freyja Hartzell, artist presentations, demoes by some of the exhibiting artists, and other moments.
Partners: The Norwegian Association of Arts and Crafts, The Glass Factory, Museum Sydøstdanmark, Lofoten Glass and Lofoten Culture House.
The project is supported by the Nordic Culture Fund and Nordic Culture Point.