American artist Dale Chihuly’s fabulous glass sculptures have graced London on several occasions, with a display at Kew Gardens in 2005 and the almost literally flamboyant Torchlight Chandelier sculpture near Hyde Park Corner to celebrate the 2012 London Olympics. Perhaps most famous of all is the 30 ft. Chandelier which hangs in the foyer of the V&A. Now, the Halcyon Gallery on New Bond Street hosts an installation of Chihuly’s paintings and glassworks, which resemble sea creatures, plants, fungi and even whorled galaxies.
Chihuly’s works are unique not only for their large scale, with the inherent technical challenges of producing blown glass, but also for their playful use of space and architectural form. The pieces undulate and twist, and even seemingly individual forms, on closer inspection, are made up of smaller elements. A chandelier alone could contain almost 1,400 individually made components, which seem to grow together to form an organic whole.
Chihuly’s colourful installation, Persian Pergola Ceiling, has been created in response to the historic architecture of the New Bond Street gallery space. Other pieces, such as Baskets, Macchia and Fiori are delightful and beautiful, with vivid colours and brilliant patterns. His use of bright, bold colour and form is also apparent in his many drawings and paintings, displayed alongside his sculptures throughout the gallery. Chihuly’s neon work is also displayed here for the first time in the UK, and is an electric fusion of colour, light and glass.
This is one glass ceiling you will not want to surpass.
Dale Chihuly: Beyond the Object continues at Halcyon Gallery, 144-146 New Bond Street, until 5 April. Admission free.