Glasstress. Window to the Future has been prepared by the Hermitage in conjunction with the Berengo Studio of Venice. In 2009, the Studio launched the Glasstress project, within which to date more than 300 artists, designers, architects and painters from around the world, aided by Murano’s glassblowers, have embodied their own highly diverse conceptions in glass. For more than a decade, the project has been a constant companion to the Venice Biennale, as well as putting on exhibitions in various parts of the world.
In 2015, the exhibition “Glasstress 2015 Gotika”, organized by the State Hermitage in conjunction with the Berengo Studio, was held in the Palazzo Cavalli-Franchetti in Venice. The display included items from the museum’s collection – armour, church plate, reliquaries and other works of applied art made in the Gothic and Neo-Gothic styles – that were presented in a dialogue with pieces created by contemporary artists at the Berengo Studio on Murano.
The new exhibition in the Hermitage will feature works by 51 artists, including such famous figures as Ai Weiwei, Renate Bertlmann, Koen Vanmechelen, Michael Joo, Ilya and Emilia Kabakov, Joseph Kosuth, Petah Coyne, Mat Collishaw, Tony Cragg, Hans Op de Beeck, Jaume Plensa, Laure Prouvost, Jan Fabre and the Chapman Brothers. Artists from different countries and generations reflect in their creations on current social processes, historical events, personal experience, the characteristics and philosophy of what was for many of them a new material. The broad contingent of artists will allow visitors to the Hermitage to see a cross-section of present-day artistic life around the world and to discover how traditional glass-making technologies can be used to produce works of contemporary art.
Fifty-five works will be displayed in the setting of the General Staff building: miniature sculptures, large-scale installations, chandeliers several metres in size and video art. The exhibition will occupy more than ten halls, including the monumental expanses of the Grand Enfilade and White Hall, as well as the intimate spaces of the Courtyard Gallery and the Red Halls.
The exhibition curators are Dmitry Ozerkov, head of the State Hermitage’s Department of Contemporary Art; Yelisei Zakharenkov, a junior researcher in that department; Olga Kozhura, laboratory technician in the department and artist Koen Vanmechelen as art director. The exhibition is being held as part of the Hermitage 20/21 project that aims to collect, exhibit and study art of the 20th and 21st centuries.
A scholarly illustrated catalogue in Russian has been prepared for the exhibition. It has a foreword by Mikhail Piotrovsky, General Director of the State Hermitage, and texts by Dmitry Ozerkov, Yelisei Zakharenkov, Adriano Berengo, President of the Berengo Studio and of the Fondazione Berengo, and Koen Vanmechelen, art director of the Berengo Studio.
The exhibition has been organized with the support of the Consulate General of Italy in Saint Petersburg and Kerama Marazzi in collaboration with the Ermitage Italia and Vilaggio Globale International.