The world’s largest art fair, the Venice Biennale, has just finished and coming to us fresh from exhibiting is Glastress: White Light / White Heat. Keeping with the style in which it was displayed over in Italy, this exhibition is displayed across two nearby spaces.
Glass is a material usually used to create functional products but this exhibition explores whether it can transcend this utilitarian niche and create breathtaking contemporary art. Venice is famed for its Murano glass so this display was particularly fitting for the Biennale, but can it be just as effective in London?
In the Wallace Collection there are some items that feel a little decorative but others that play with our preconceived notions about glass; Tracey Emin’s cat looks so dark and solid it’s hard to believe that it is actually fragile. The two strongest works here relate to water as Paul Fryer appears to have preserved the moment a drop hits the water’s surface and the Recycle Group has a glass mouth breathing bubbles underwater.
Over at the Fashion Space the highlight is Helen Storey’s glass dress with a fire burning within its heart, both an exquisite work of art and a nod to how the dress was created.
It’s a real shame that more of the Biennale exhibition hasn’t made it across as it had some stunning works that haven’t made the trip. As it is, the exhibition has quite a few strong works but the collection is missing some key pieces and sadly, it shows.
Glasstress: White Light / White Heat is on at Fashion Space Gallery, London College of Fashion, 20 John Prince’s Street, W1G 0BJ and Wallace Collection, Manchester Square, W1U 3BN. Both exhibitions are on until 22 February and are free to enter.