Thursday, August 9, 2007

Perspectives offered by contemporaries

Museum of Glass Presents Mining Glass (June 16, 2007 - February 3, 2008)

The Museum, in its press release claims,"
Glass may have been disregarded by twentieth century art as decorative, but today it is not simply a major medium in its own right, it is also one that opens new visions for the artists who are approaching and mining it."

Another excerpt: "Mining Glass is the first major survey to examine how the rich and unparalleled material of glass has expanded beyond its traditional application in decorative and functional art in the early twenty-first century.The installations are organized around eight narratives that act as suggested passages to help viewers see beyond the technical matters associated with the medium.By moving through the themes of artifice, boundaries, desire, enchantment, excess, identity, intersections, and landscape, the exhibition concentrates on the deeper issues that concern artists, allowing the meaning of the work to take precedence over the technique of how it has been executed. The featured artists, none of whom are glass artists, thus present a stunning diversity of approaches to the material to reveal the multiplicity of glass--precious, magical, and mystical, yet common, practical, and functional--while challenging the notion that work in glass is merely pretty."

Question is: "Merely pretty" ??? Heyyyy, what's wrong with pretty?

Question 1: How does our standpoint (in terms of "mining") differ? Is our take but a variation on postmodernist multiculturalism and hybridism? Are we interesting in the fundamental redefinition of glass through artistic practice? Or is it something else?

Image credits:
Jean-Michel Othoniel (French, born 1964), Black Hearts, Red Tears (detail), 2006-2007,
Blown glass and glass beads,
108 x 132 x 4 inches (274 x 335 x 10 cm)
Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin, Paris. Photo by Russell Johnson

Friday, August 3, 2007


Glass+New Media=? Brainstorm for a new word

What is glass?

The idea of in-between-ness is inseparable from glass. The material exists at a threshold chemically. It is an amorphous solid or a super-cooled liquid, the debate continues as to which. What is clear though, is that glass exists as a state somewhere in between a liquid and a solid. This means that despite having properties of both liquid and solid, glass is neither. It is too viscous to be a crystalline solid and too cohesive in molecule structure to be a liquid, just as I am too Indian to be Tamil and too regional to be a global citizen.

Glass is matter. It is light. Glass is immortal yet fragile. By virtue of being indetermined at multiple levels, glass lends itself to alchemical and phenomenological transformations. Through my experiments with glass, I realize that it embodies the defining quality of a threshold: it is a dialectic.

Threshold = (to) thresh + (to) hold, thres. hole, thresh. (W)hole.

Image source: