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May 25 - September 8, 2013 Glasss
at it's best

Since the 1970s, a great number of artists residing in Denmark have been working in so-called studio glass. That is, objects created using molten glass in small furnaces, shaped by the artist in his or her own studio or in smaller workshops. For many years, studio glass – more or less justified – was never really recognized as art. Several practitioners were seduced by the possibilities of glass, which in itself can do so much. Light plays in alluring ways in the glass. And the resulting works may easily take on a rather colorful or ‘fashionable’ appearance. Glass can even be ingratiating and cause almost nauseating effects. And it can be stretched and shaped into the most astonishing of forms. So unless the artists working with this type of material make an effort to thoroughly disciplining their expression, there certainly is a real danger that the works become vociferous and not very interesting artistically speaking.

Over the past decades, however, new generations of artists have taken up the challenge of exploring the countless opportunities of working in glass. – And many of them have achieved such outstanding results that the status of studio glass as an art form is no longer questioned.

Together with the exhibitions GLASSS in 2004 and 2007, Holstebro Kunstmuseum, in collaboration with the curator Atila, has done its best for obtaining said recognition. On these occasions, the best works of two generations of artists have been presented to audiences, and at the same time introductions have been made to main currents in the Danish studio glass movement.

The exhibition here in 2013 will be the final GLASSS. Final, because the overall purpose of GLASSS has now been fulfilled. By means of these three exhibitions, studio glass has been documented and described as a full-fledged artistic expression.

Atila’s great passion is studio glass. He is an avid collector, and for many years he has been attentive to the artists and the milieu as a whole. As was the case with the previous two exhibitions, Atila has focused on works that have made a profound difference in terms of originality and quality. He has included pure sculptural works, glass installations as well as more tradition-bound ‘primordial’ forms such as bowls and dishes.

In many ways, the exhibition is indeed a personal view on the present achievements of Danish studio glass. But it is Holstebro Kunstmuseum’s conviction that this exhibition, along with the previous two, will stand as a testimony to the most outstanding work in studio glass at the beginning of this century. It is therefore our claim that whoever made the informed choices and selections, these would generally not have been significantly different from Atila’s.

GLASSS shows works by 14 artists, each of whom have their own specific approach to glass. Several of the artists have participated in the previous exhibitions and have furthermore played a central part in the overall development that has taken place in studio glass. Additionally, GLASSS features works by younger artists who are well on their way of establishing their careers. In this way, GLASSS is clearly a demonstration of the vigor and vitality of Danish studio glass. Safe to say, the artists involved are extremely experimental, challenging not only glass as a fundamental material, but also our own notions of what defines glass as an art form. Many of the exhibitors have already obtained international recognition.

The 14 artists are: Lene Bødker, Tobias Møhl, Pipaluk Lake, Stig Persson, Steffen Dam, Christina Rivett, Pernille Braun, Karen Lise Krabbe, Lotte Thorsøe, Susanne Jøker Johnsen, Marie Retpen, Jeannet Iskandar, Tillie Burden and Maria Koshenkova.

In the accompanying catalogue, museum curator at Designmuseum Danmark, Ulla Houkjær, writes that one of the common features among the artists in the exhibition is a certain reticence and a slight hesitation in the expression in respect of color and technique. She talks about a strictly defined universe where ‘less is more’, and in which ostentation and gaudiness is avoided. Instead, the artists are aiming at an expression characterized by subdued and refined color transitions that reflect a fundamental closeness to nature permeating even the most abstract works in the exhibition; and in this perspective, these Danish works are truly unequalled in international glass art.

The exhibition and catalogue would not have been possible without generous support from Danish Crafts, Danmarks Nationalbanks Jubilæumsfond af 1968, Knud Højgaards Fond, Toyota Fonden and Ellen og Knud Dalhoff Larsens Fond.
Participating artists:
Karen Lise Krabbe (f. 1955)
Lene Bødker (f. 1958)
Stig Persson (f. 1960)
Steffen Dam (f. 1961)
Pipaluk Lake (f. 1962)
Lotte Thorsøe (f. 1964)
Tobias Møhl (f. 1970)
Susanne Jøker Johnsen
Christina Rivett (f. 1975)
Pernille Braun (f. 1978)
Maria Retpen (f. 1978)
Maria Koshenkova (f. 1981)
Tillie Burden (f. 1982)