Wednesday May 15, 2024 | by Andrew Page

OPENING: Laura de Santillana's glass homage to Japanese aesthetics will debut this evening in New York

This evening, the poetic and sensitive expressions in glass of the late Laura de Santillana (1955 - 2019) will inhabit the third-floor exhibition space at New York's Ippodo Gallery, where an exhibition of 25 of her works titled "Echoes of Her Gaze, Impressions of Tokyo and Kyoto in Glass," opens this evening. The assembled artwork was inspired by de Santillana's experience of Japan, where the contrasting influences of the intensity of Tokyo’s neon lights on the one hand, and the meditative aura of Kyoto’s aesthetics, inspired the artist's responses in sculpture. Aspects of Japanese culture such as the unique cinematography of director Yasujiro Ozu, or the dedication to craftsmanship in all aspects of the built environment are also explored in de Santillana's glass structures that are both translucent and opaque.

Balck Cut - Black Diptych, 2005. H 17, W 16, D 2 3/4 in. courtesy: douglas dubler.

These are later-career works, and this will be the first exhibition of many of them since the artist died at the age of 64. The artist's nephew, Leon de Santillana, is the director of the foundation that bears the family name, and which recently completed a multi-year project to document the artist's 35-year career, in which she made approximately 1,500 works. 

"We now have a clear idea of the entire body of work of Laura thanks to the work of researchers at the foundation," the director of the De Santillana Foundation explained. "We understand better some of the choices Laura made, and how she moved through different periods of her work." The artist was known for her modesty and reluctance to talk about her work, so the foundation's project to fully catalog and chronicle her career output was an important step.

Though the De Santillana Foundation organized the prize-winning "Beyond Matter" retrospective of the artist's work at the Gallerie dell'Accademia di Venezia during the 2023 Venice Glass Week, they handed off the exhibition curation for the New York commercial show to Ippodo Gallery. where the show opens this evening. 

Gallery director Shoko Aono, writing about her memories of Laura in Japan in an open letter, recalled time spent together with the artist.

"She loved Japanese architecture and materials—which were emulated in her work—such as paper, silk, indigo, and gold and silver leaf," writes Aono. " She reveled in the space and atmosphere of her surrounding in Kyoto, as if absorbing the world for the first time like a child; I could see all this in just her gaze."

For those who will see the assembled work in the exhibition, the objects on display, their shaping into poignant gestures, the meditative qualities of light, the splashes of metallic color, will keep the spirit and sensitivity of a unique artist echoing into the present.


Laura de Santillana
"Echoes of her Gaze: Impression of Tokyo and Kyoto in Glass"
May 15 - June 29, 2024
Ippodo Gallery
32 E 67th Street (3rd Floor)
New York City

Glass: The UrbanGlass Quarterly, a glossy art magazine published four times a year by UrbanGlass has provided a critical context to the most important artwork being done in the medium of glass for more than 40 years.