30 September – 3 Dicember 2017
Murano, Glass Museum, Spazio Conterie
Garden Fracture / Mirror in Vapour: Part 2 previews on September 29th at the Spazio Conterie within the Museum of Glass, located on the island of Murano, and will remain open to the public until December 3rd. The exhibition presents the work of Australian artist Rosslynd Piggott in a visual articulation of her artistic path formed by a 30 year long career dedicated to the exploration of painting, photography and video in the investigation of glass. Using painting as the principal background to her work, Rosslynd Piggott has utilised the use of other materials in order to enhance and support her work, each chosen for their diverse expressive qualities. Glass, mirrors, fabric, antique and found materials, air, perfume, metals, paper and jewels have all become her methods of communication.
The artist’s works in glass began in 1990, the year in which she produced the work entitled ‘100 Glasses’ that a spatially linear poem consisting of 100 glasses engraved with various words and placed on a long shelf. The sequence begins with names of faraway cities, charged with historical and sentimental meaning: ‘Rome’, ‘Egypt’, ‘Thebe’, and ‘Venice’. Then comes elements such as ‘salt’, ‘ink’, nouns, a date from the past, a date from the future, ‘Marcel’ (Proust or Duchamp), ‘Virginia’ (Woolf), followed by the Latin names of their favourite flowers. Lastly, 14 glasses devoid of any engravings implying certain openness, a space not yet finished. This initial work signals the beginning of Rosslynd Piggott’s budding interest in the metaphysical potential of glass.
Glass continued to be an important material for Piggott’s artistic practice, particularly for its paradoxical qualities simultaneously withholding and revealing, capable of maintaining both a solid and fluid form, with the capacity to evoke a sense of multiplicitous space. For a painter such as Rosslynd Piggott, used to working with within the realm of layering and veiling delicate semi transparent colour, glass offered a coherent and complimentary facet with a unique sense of material.
In 2011, after various experimentations with glass produced in Australia, Piggott arrived in Murano to work on a new project that was centred on a collection of air. For this work nine vases were realised, each with a florally inspired glass stopper, containing various samples of air collected from the famous Garden of Nymphs. Between 2012 and 2013 Piggott began to regularly visit Murano and collaborated with the master engraver Muarizio Vidal from the Ongaro e Fuga studio. The new works that were created as a result of this partnership were often accompanied by delicate floral designs in which images slowly dissolve until they disappear and fade into translucent white cellulose. The drawings on paper are both the predecessors and the continuations of the glass works, with very slight almost imperceptible pencil strokes representing the consistency of the sharp stone wheel gently translating the images onto the glass.
The discovery of glass engraving and the artisanal mastery of Murano paved the way for further series of works composed of an unusual and fascinating stratification of glass plates engraved with botanical images superimposed in several layers. Beneath the plates lies a mirror resulting in a captivating multiplication of the images and an enchanting play of light. Etched glass and empty space alternate, and the mirror provides a backdrop that doubles the floral scenes creating an almost vertiginous element as well as presenting a reflection of the viewer, albeit ambiguously distorted.
Mirrors have maintained a role of primary importance in Piggott’s work, particularly when the surface becomes marred by time as the process of oxidisation renders the material and its reflection mysterious and obscure. In accordance with this theme of transformation and ambiguity, the artist has produced numerous distorted mirrors whilst in Australia, characterised by unique surfaces that appear both cloudy and almost liquid.
The series Garden Fracture / Mirror in Vapour also contains works which explore the reflective and refractive nature of glass as it toys with the viewer’s gaze, inviting it in one moment only to bounce it back the next. The eye is captured by a myriad of curved petals that lie in front of a branch scattered with blossoms of wisteria, whilst cherry blossom petals softly fall to the ground amongst the voluptuous blooms of peonies. Visions multiply in a beautifully chaotic garden that absorbs the viewer, transporting them away from themselves.
Piggott’s work carries you into a timeless and limitless world, a space for the imagination and the intangible, for wonder and joy, where everything returns to the fracture between the self and the non-self.
Curated by Chiara Squarcina, Francesca Giubilei, Luca Berta
In cooperation with