Glass lovers are in for an extra-special treat when visiting Venice this Spring, as the city is currently hosting a pioneering exhibition dedicated to Cirva – the International Centre for Research on Glass and the Plastic Arts, based in Marseille, France. The show is taking place across two of Venice’s principal cultural venues, LE STANZE DEL VETRO on San Giorgio Maggiore, and Fondazione Querini Stampalia.

Established in 1986, Cirva is a non-profit laboratory that hosts international artists, designers and architects wishing to introduce glass into their creative process.  The exhibition features 17 of these artists, all of whom have been in residence at Cirva over the past thirty years, including Pierre Charpin, Jana Sterbak, Robert Wilson and Terry Winters.

Before their residencies at Cirva, most of the artists had only occasionally come into contact with the glass world throughout their careers.  As a result, the works on view are highly original, surprising and unpredictable – representing the very “cutting edge” of contemporary glass art.

As the exhibition catalogue explains, “In the design of A Furnace in Marseille. Cirva [curators] Isabelle Reiher and Chiara Bertola have attempted to combine glass with the natural elements that characterise the environmental system of their cities: Venice and Marseille, both lapped by water, living in light, engaged in the re-imagining of glass, and never oblivious to sound. The exhibition therefore stems from the awareness that glass is not a material but a condition: a visual device that helps to identify something other than its pure form. It allows us to imagine the translation of an idea, to grasp the concretion of a vision’s inner energy, to touch the colour of a profound insight and to show the hardness of a solid that dissolves into brilliance. In this “frozen” landscape born from fire, light, reflections and transparencies are of course pivotal.”

“A Furnace in Marseille. Cirva – Centre international de recherche sur le verre et les arts plastiques is on view at Fondazione Querini Stampalia until 24th June 2018, and at LE STANZE DEL VETRO until 29th July 2018.