The Shanghai Glass Museum

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Annealing: A New Path for Cross-Border Cooperation-

From the perspective of building museum exhibition system

Xin YANG, Shanghai Glass Museum

Founded in 2011, the Shanghai Glass Museum has been dedicated to sharing the infinite possibilities of glass and leading the lifestyle of museums. With the development of the times and the increasing demands of the audience, the scope and function of the museum is also undergoing dynamic changes. From the early days of the three main functions of “collection, exhibition, and research,” the “education” function has been gradually increased, and emphasis has been placed on “leisure” and “experience”. There is no doubt, however, that “exhibitions” have always been at the heart of the museum’s daily work: “collections” and “research” are the core factors of “exhibitions”, while “education”, “communication” and “leisure” are the outreach from “exhibition”. After nearly ten years of in-depth work, the Shanghai Glass Museum has gradually established an exhibition system that conforms to its own characteristics and vision. Focusing on the theme of “glass,” the museum has gradually developed variety exhibition types of ancient Chinese glass exhibition, international glass design exhibition, exhibition related to the “Studio Glass Movement” and the cross-border contemporary art exhibition “Annealing” mentioned in this article.

Figure 1: Shanghai Glass Museum
Figure 2: Exhibition “Annealing”

The name of the project “Annealing” comes from a process in the glass-making process, which is a process in which the glass is thermally processed and then cooled down through reasonable temperature control to reduce the permanent stresses between the glass. In this process, the resulting works can be unexpected. Through this project, the Shanghai Glass Museum hopes to invite contemporary artists to intervene in the glass material, and to use powerful conceptual creations to break down the myths and limitations of the glass process. resulting in works that will surprise both the art industry and the viewer, Over the past five years, the Shanghai Glass Museum has invited Ding ZHANG, Fei LIAO, Xinguang YANG, Rongrong BI, Tianmiao LIN, Jianhua LIU, Xun SUN, and Kelvin Kyung Kun PARK (from the SouthKorea) to participate in the project.

Figure 3: Ding ZHANG, Black Substance, 2015

Ding ZHANG is the first artist to join the “Annealing” project. In his exhibition “Black Substance”, Ding ZHANG broke the perception of the fixed properties of glass, created scenes of passionate confrontation and evoked a sense of imminent danger.

Xinguang YANG and Fei LIAO joined the project in 2016. Xinguang YANG’s work “Glass Intestine” began with the traditional Chinese cultural concept of “broken heart” and explored how extreme physical pain is reflected in the spirit, while Fei LIAO’s work “Continuous Surface” asked about the origin of matter and used a scientific calculation model to enlarge the microscopic, explored the question of whether or not there is such a thing as absolutely flat.

Figure 4: Xinguang YANG, Glass
Intestine, 2016
Figure 5: Fei LIAO, Plain, 2016

Rongrong BI’s work began with the collection of wave(water) patterns, and her works such as “Colored Pieces – Repeated Patterns” and “Deconstruction and Reconstruction of Spiral Pattern” expanded to include the structure and expression of lines, color blocks and areas in space. Tianmiao LIN explored the concept of “system”, and her works “Warm Currents” and “Reflection” showed the thoughts of individual and social control through the huge combination of liquid, glass and machine system. In his exhibition “Mirror Effect”, Jianhua LIU tried to erase the transparent and light properties of glass, asked about the connection between the individual and the everyday, and reset and broke the established concepts of the commonplace.

Figure 6: Rongrong BI, Wave, 2017
Figure 7: Tianmiao LIN, Collective Consciousness, 2018
Figure 8: Jianhua LIU, Mirror Effect, 2018

Xun SUN constructed a complete and expansive concept of time and space through his understanding of the glass material, and presented a non-linear “spatial narrative” by combining installation and painting works. Through delicate and precise expressions, Kelvin Kyung Kun PARK gave glass a strong emotional quality, and led the viewer to reconsider the meaning of “seeing”.

Figure 9: Xun SUN The Frontier2018-2019 Figure10: Kelvin Kyung Kun PARK Double Mirror 2019

The success and final presentation of the “Annealing” project is the result of the joint efforts of the museum and the artist. From the perspective of artistic exploration, the intervention of contemporary art expands the possibilities of the language of glass materials and opens new paths of thinking for contemporary art. From the perspective of museum construction and exhibition system, the development of the “Annealing” project has helped to build the exhibition system of the Shanghai Glass Museum, enriching the collection of works, while enhancing the public’s experience of viewing the exhibition and attempting to stimulate the viewers’ thinking. In addition, the Shanghai Glass Museum has also carried out further work on the “exhibition” function, and started from 2019, in order to better document the “annealing” art project and the development of information research on the museum’s collections, the academic research department of the Shanghai Glass Museum will officially start the work of the museum’s documentation center, the documentation center collects research materials and archives for the development of the “Annealing” project, enriches the process documentation of art projects and exhibitions, collects and organizes project materials including artists’ manuscripts, creative concepts, videos of the creating process, exhibition materials and even online dialogues from instant messaging platform and work emails. The detailed archival collection will provide the basis for the curating work of subsequent exhibitions, and seeks to establish the Shanghai Glass Museum as a unique academic institution in the study of art and to propose new possibilities for archival research.