In this symposium, two Dutch and two Chinese artists from different generations shared their inspiration and their working process. These works showed the audience a variety of creation from a same material – glass.
1. Barbara NANNING
What fascinates Ms. NANNING from a glass artwork is the isolation between the interior and the exterior, between their own – and their surrounding space. The four keywords for her are: Nature, Movement, Color and Perfection.
Her working process goes like this: before blowing, she would discuss her ideas with the blowers, the cutters and the assistants. During blowing, she pays a lot of attention to modeling the hot glass. So that later, during the grinding, the inner and outer shapes merge smoothly into each other as a continuous movement.
Various techniques and materials were applied to make her work of art with flowing shapes, multidimensional layers and changing colors. Besides working with blown glass, Ms. NANNING has also worked on projects with decorative glass panels for a cabinet with the Dutch designer Godfried BRANDS and for a Watertower in Naaldwijk.
2. Wenqing ZHENG
Ms. Wenqing ZHENG introduced the audience her glass installation “Transparent Voices-III”, where a breakthrough from the conventional concept of glass art was achieved by a play of space, light, sound and movement.
In this work, the shaking glass filaments seem to be in danger of breaking at any time, but are unexpectedly solid even after a long period of collision. She let the viewers immerse in a space created by her. With the movement of the light source in viewers’ hands, the undulating shimmer form a field of light, producing a sound of transparent glass and a silent rhythm of light. The dark space with shimmering reflection and the subtle collision of glass filaments activate viewer’ senses. This “field of experience” allows the viewer to perceive the ideas and emotions she wanted to express in a liberating way.
3. Anna GRAY
The themes of Ms. Anna GRAY’s art cover a broad spectrum, from human memory to the creation of the universe. These subjects might seem diverse, but what they have in common is an investigation of the unknown.
Glass has the ability to transform the fluid into concrete, the elusive into a reality, a moment into a sculpture or installation.
In her work “Remembrance”, details of childhood photos are magnified and deformed by small and irregular glass lenses, which reflect the nature of our memory: they are often exaggerated or changed. While in “why does it move as it does”, she made an experiment combining art and science, asking the fundamental question of the movement of an object. She said, “thanks to glass, my ideas about the things we do not know and cannot see, come to life. “
Ms. Meng DU shared an intimate story between her life and her creation of art, which brings out less-known characters of glass: warmth, hope and comfort.
The sunshine through stained glass in a cold winter day and the film “love letter” by Iwai Shunji became the inspiration for Ms. Meng DU’s “letter”. In this work, she combined stained glass and mirrors and engraved common greetings from letters on them, wishing to give some comfort to those who suffer from the loss of their family.
With another work “Ripple”, one can not only see the work itself, but also the reflection of themselves, their surroundings and landscapes outside the window, which lead viewers to meditate. “Recall” was made during the pandemic in China. On the glass, the artist engraved images of sea and sky, for they always connect and sooth people, especially during the lockdown.
Q & A (Selected):
- The question is for Wenqing ZHENG: the fragility of the glass is very beautiful in your installation. What kind of role does fragility play in your work?
The installation itself is not fragile, but the glass filaments are. Fragility is the source of my inspiration. When people are immersed in a space of breakable glass filaments, their sensitivity is stimulated. So, I hope every viewer can activate his or her own senses when faced with this fragility.
- Can Ms. Barbara NANNING please give some advice to young artists?
It’s been 41 years that I have worked in this field. The most important thing is that you have to believe in yourself and your own ideas and then do it. If you don’t believe in yourself, no one will. Another thing: creativity is also important but it’s less vital than discipline. So, keep on working!