Glass artists demand their own transparency

Meet artists and researchers working in glass For a few days in Madrid it became a leading space in which women from many Latin American countries as well as Spain, who work with these materials, participate, Techniques, experiences, creativity and struggle to reclaim their space In a world that, like many, is eminently masculine. “El Asombrario Recicla” was there and spoke with some of these artists, making Of light, transparency, wisdom and originality.

initiative that sprouted From Museum of Contemporary Art in the Glass of Alcorcon (Madrid), supported by the web platform Objects with Glass and CSIC, among other institutions, is a celebration of the Year of Glass that has sought to appreciate the artistically demanding medium of artistic expression in which women are its protagonists. “This is a great success. We had 112 registered, between head-to-head and Online, From a dozen countries: Mexico, Panama, Portugal, Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina… It is great that, thanks to this conference, they share knowledge and can create networks that will last over time”, says Maria Luisa Martinez, director of one of the museums who is already a reference in the field.

The exhibition, which features works by 34 artists in attendance, is part of this approach to an art that began over 5,000 years ago, but is largely unknown in its contemporary version, despite the fact that it still is. It is updated every day. Attendees complain that in certain areas it is still considered a secondary art despite the complexity. However, the versatility offered by this material, made of sand, soda and lime, is amazing and part of what we throw out daily in green containers for recycling into new ones may end up in your hands.

There the Argentine Cecilia Muñoz worked. She made giving new life to things and materials the focus of her work. “For me it is necessary to take advantage of what could be rubbish for others. In the works I bring to Spain I use the tennis shoes that I have used in the international tournaments I have participated in in the past, along with glass obtained from old bottles and fishing nets that I have found On beaches or empty perfume bottles. Working with glass requires a lot of technique, but the result is worth it “, he emphasized at the exhibition opening last week.

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Cecilia had just left the workshop, inside Congress, where an expert in occupational hazards explained the risks to the health of those who work with glass in their professional activity. Dangers go beyond the use of fire, because it is almost microscopic, in the form of dust. “We must protect ourselves better because, sometimes, to save resources, since we are independent, we avoid security measures such as masks or vacuum cleaners with appropriate filters. And we cannot forget that to make our work we use oxides that harm us; veteran Argentine artist Miriam commented De’ Fiori, an international reference in contemporary glass art, has over the years come up with problems, like the one I have now.

Andrea da Ponte’s work has been extracted from her Instagram account.

Andrea da Ponte’s work has been extracted from her Instagram account.

De Fiori’s work, where nature reigns in the form of rivers, forests, lakes … He devoted an entire floor to the Murano Hotel in Tacoma (USA). It is a 25-storey building, each dedicated to a sculptor who was distinguished around the world for the beauty of his pieces. His house is the fourth floor. “My connection to trees comes from my childhood in Argentina, where I lived next to a forest. I’m older, already in Italy, I’ve done it next to a natural park for 13 years, and it shows in my work “,

noted in a recent interview. Thanks to his technique, the landscape is built with strands of glass in a semi-microscopic mosaic that forms the twigs. Up to 2,000 threads were used in works no larger than 17 x 12 cm.

A great teacher, like so many others gathered in Alcorcon, her idea is a compendium of knowledge about glass and its teaching, thinking about the future: “No student of mine needs to train for 200 years, but should do exactly the same as what I did. Being a teacher means planting Technology and common sense in your head and hands, so that you don’t leave the same thing you walked in when you leave class, but take with you a bag of information that offers new opportunities for your creativity.I can’t teach you how to do beautiful things, but I can teach you how to do them well with materials which you have chosen. And once you enter the workshop, it is the material that rules.”

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“The best thing about these meetings is precisely that we share how we artists overcome difficulties in our path with ingenuity, determination and a lot of love. Andrea da Ponte, also Argentinian, who kept her works in exhibition at the Museo Alcorcon, to the chagrin of customs, confirmed that we make Networks will last over time and that is the most important thing.

Although her work didn’t make it to the event in Madrid, she made it clear that one of her pieces was the only one by a Latin American artist selected for the 2020 exhibition at the Corning Museum of Glass in New York. Chosen as one of the world’s 100 best glassmakers. “No, they don’t make it easy for us women, but I’ve always sought to open up spaces for myself to be able to pursue what I love, go to factories where they make blown glass and convince them to let me work with my piece. I’d love to try,” he said while showing his cellphone that Glass retains a sculpture that consists of a dented ball of glass stuck between ropes that deforms it with its forces, like our planet itself.Da Ponte has developed its own technology that allows the photographic image to be transferred to glass with exceptional quality, captured in full color.

Other authors pass their food on to us. short tripDesigned by Panamanian Gladys Sevillano, it is a piece that reveals the beauty and fragile strength of delicate glass. “What I like most about this material is the lightness and softness it conveys and that you never finish learning how to work with it, but I am also one of those who think we are far from appreciative of what we do if we compare it to other artistic aspects,” stressed Siviano, who owns the only open art glass workshop. In his country, a statue like this would take six or seven months of work.

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Among the main artists was Venezuelan Luisa Doña, a professor at the University of Carabobo. He traveled to Madrid with a “piece of the sea” in the form of waves, ripples. “For me, glass is transparent and it is light,” he told us. “This is what I try to convey to my students.” In fact, she has authored many stained glass windows for churches and other buildings in her country, with many architects using her designs.

Works by Cecilia Muñoz at the Museum of Contemporary Glass Art in Alcorcon. Photo: Rosa M. Tristan.

But in addition to the artists searching, there have also been those who collect information about them for transmission, such as Uruguayan Beatriz Amoren, who is trying to ensure that the legacy of other great artists who marked their era is not lost, as in the case of Uruguayan Agueda Decancro, who passed away in 2019. Amoren explains, her work has been marked by the creation of new technologies, and recognition has led her to the Venice and São Paulo Biennials, as well as winning a number of awards. His sculptures are distinguished by having large glass fixtures as a primary material, along with wood and iron. The combination of colors, opacity, and transparency, along with other resources, such as mirrors and light, define the work that went down in history. “The idea is that the techniques that resulted from previous research were not lost,” Amorin concluded. “If someone has done this before, you better know how they did it and apply it. In general, glass artists are also great researchers who want to achieve tangible effects. It is important to preserve this technical legacy to share with those who will come next.”

Myrtle Frost

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