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Thursday April 21, 2011 | by laguiri

Belgian exhibition juxtaposes historic works with glass panels by Judith Schaechter, Wim Delvoye, an

FILED UNDER: Exhibition

Judith Schaechter, You Are Here, 2007. Stained glass, sandblasted, engraved, vitreous paint; assembled with copper foil. H 37, W 26 in. courtesy: the artist

Visitors to the Glazen Huis – Flemish Center for Contemporary Glass Art in Lommel, Belgium, can see subversive stained glass windows, precise geometric wall panels, photographs of Ziegfeld girls suspended in glass, hyperrealistic mosaic portraits, and much more in just one ambitious exhibition, “THE GLASS CANVAS – Glass as a canvas, a carrier through history.” It joins the bold, often dark work of contemporary glass artists such as Judith Schaechter, Wim Delvoye, Maria Dukers, Lada Semecká, Sybille Peretti, Andrea Salvador, Judith Röder, and Deborah Sandersley, among others, with centuries-old stained glass windows, verre églomisé pieces, glass medallions, antique mirrors, and glass negatives.

Wim Delvoye, Calliope, 2001-2002. Steel, X-ray photographs, glass, lead. H 78 3/4, W 31 1/2 in. courtesy: Wim Delvoye

In his exhibition notes, curator Jeroen Maes describes the show as “a meeting between old and new in a glass context of religion, architecture, art, and entertainment,” and “a series of confrontations of the glass canvas” in both physical and psychological terms. These confrontations allow for unusual intersections, such as the De kruisiging van Christus (“The Crucifixion of Christ”), a stained glass work on loan from the Church of Saint Gummarus in Lier, Belgium, and Delvoye’s provocative Calliope, one of nine pieces for which he incorporated X-rays ? sometimes of couples having sex ? into stained glass works. The archway and use of stained glass evoke religious works typical of Catholic churches, but Calliope subverts the genre by referencing a Greek muse instead of a saint and depicting mirrored skeleton wrapped in chains with handcuffs over their heads, not haloes. Schaechter’s You Are Here also draws from traditional stained glass windows, portraying a reclining female figure, perhaps dreaming, maybe dead, in a crucifixion pose under a starry cosmos.

Sibylle Peretti, The Spill, 2011. Mixed media on glass. H 18, W 28, D 2 in. courtesy: the artist

Verre églomisé from venerated Belgian artists like Floris Jespers are similarly juxtaposed with contemporary artists working glass into mixed media pieces. Sibylle Peretti’s ethereal The Spill appears in the exhibition, a dreamy depiction of a young girl distanced from the viewer by a layer of cloudy, “flawed” glass. Michael Janis also focuses on dreamy landscapes, as is the case with Home is a Memory, a kilnformed piece with glass powder imagery that depicts a girl in an old-fashioned frock with the head of a bird. The distance here comes not from the glass, as in The Spill, but from the line of perspective emphasizing how far away the figure is from the house in the background of the piece.

Michael Janis, Memory is a House, 2010. Kilnformed glass with glass powder imagery, steel. H 12 1/2, W 12 1/1 in. courtesy: the artist

The Glazen Huis is a dynamic space for such an exhibition, as it is a work of glass art itself. The building’s signature component is a glass cone almost 100 feet high, lit by thousands of LED lights. A glass “box” around the base and a basement level allow for exhibitions at three different levels around the cone.

Grace Duggan


“THE GLASS CANVAS – Glass as a canvas, a carrier through history”
April 10, 2011 – September 25, 2011
GLAZEN HUIS – Flemish Center for Contemporary Glass Art
Dorp 14b
3920 Lommel
Tel: +32 (0)11/54.13.35

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