Museo del Settecento Veneziano
14 luglio – 25 settembre 2023
curated by Fondazione Lino Tagliapietra
and Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia
“Probably no two words are more respected and honored
in the history of modern glass sculpture than “Lino Tagliapietra”.
He embodies the living bridge,
the crucial conjunction between the august history of Venetian glass
and the continuous wonders of what we call today
the modern movement of Studio Glass”
— James Yood, The Hands of the Maestro
Curated by Fondazione Lino Tagliapietra together with Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia, Lino Tagliapietra. The Origins of a Journey wants to pay homage to an artist, traveler, experimenter, during his constant search for stimuli he can transfer to his works, including passionate research, technical perfection, and sublimation of the beauty of glass.
Born in Venice in 1934, Lino Tagliapietra has been working with glass since he became an apprentice when he was just eleven. From a young age his unique talent made him stand out in Murano, earning the title of maestro when he was only twenty-one years old for his expertise in the art of blown glass. His prolific talent on the island of glass in the Venetian lagoon, together with his insatiable curiosity, soon led him to travel extensively, so much so that in 1979 he made a trip to America and visited Seattle for the first time. It was here that he introduced the Pilchuck School students to the traditions of Venetian glassblowing, thus cementing his name in the history of the American glassblowing tradition. Through his teachings, Tagliapietra has irrevocably changed the use of glass in the United States, setting a new future for this medium, infused with the knowledge and skill of the Italian tradition interpreted through a new vibrant energy. Today this journey of creativity, color and craftsmanship has found a new temporary home in the renovated rooms of the Ca’ Rezzonico Museum in Venice.
“Lino Tagliapietra is the living representation of the Venetian soul and the outstanding craftsmanship of Murano blown glass – says Mayor Luigi Brugnaro. To pay homage to him with this exhibition is not only to honor a great glassmaker maestro, but to recognize him as one of the main figures in the intercultural collaboration between Italy and America. With this exhibition we want to recognize his place as a unique international figure and one of the most influential in his field. Thanks therefore to the Civic Museums and to all those who are working to mount this exhibition: through Tagliapietra, Venice celebrates itself and confirms its commitment to promoting and protecting what is an outstanding product of excellence.”
Mounted in an itinerary designed by the architect Chiara Lamonarca on the first and second floors of the palazzo, the 21 works on display offer a cross section of the Maestro’s vast production over the last thirty years in an open dialogue with the eighteenth-century masterpieces around them. Alongside iconic works such as the long-necked Dinosaur, Fuji, Asola, Niomea, Oca, Africa, and Hopi offer a description of traditional Murano techniques such as blown glass with canes, filigree, murrines, incalmo, double blowing or other typical processes of the second processing such as beating and grinding. It is with these sculptural works that Lino Tagliapietra established himself as an independent artist, heralding new seasons and generations of glass artists.
“With this exhibition”, the MUVE President Mariacristina Gribaudi says in advance, “we want to pay tribute to an artist who is a traveler, an experimenter, curious about the things of the world, but who has always remained strongly attached to his origins. Lino Tagliapietra has always shown the ability to bring together different worlds and cultures, synthesizing them in the creation of his works.”
Also on display is a careful selection of panels in fused glass created between 1999 and 2012, made by superimposing different techniques and colors. The initial evocations — already declared in the titles Finestra sul campiello, Ponticello, Rio Grande – not only represent doors leading to places close to the Maestro’s heart, but also express passions, such as Rothko’s painting.
In this case the works are pictorial rather than sculptural, in contrast to the practice of an artist who has hardly ever made preparatory drawings.
Made of glass frit with solid glass inserts or with the use of canes and zanfirico murrine, the panels are undoubtedly among Lino Tagliapietra’s most experimental and demanding works, and it is in these that his relentless, exotic, experimental and creative drive emerges.
The panel Giuditta closes the exhibition on the second floor. Like a glass altarpiece installed between two altarpieces, the work stands out for its bright colors and the stylized profile that characterizes its subject. A prayer and thanksgiving for a life spent in the color and art of glass.
“After the retrospective of 2012, and after the exhibition in Murano in the rooms of In Galleria Art Gallery of 2019, this will be the first institutional exhibition in my city for a long time — declares Lino Tagliapietra — and I believe that Ca’ Rezzonico is the best venue.
The grandeur of the decorations of the palace inspired a selection of apparently unusual works: large panels reminiscent of paintings and other works all made with typically Venetian techniques, but of international inspiration, between tradition and modern art. I very much hope that this exhibition of mine will be favorably received by visitors, showing them once again the wonderful versatility of the material that has accompanied me throughout my life, glass.”
“With over seventy years’ experience, at the age of eighty-eight Tagliapietra is still relentlessly continuing his innovative experiments. In his most recent creations, the sculptor reworks the ancient technique of colored glass with the artist’s distinctive style, delicately inserting the hand-blown filigree inside the traditional network of a lead structure. A radical creative act, the panels, this latest adventure in the world of colored glass, confirms how Tagliapietra has continued throughout his career to reinvent and rejuvenate the history of glass, approaching secular techniques with a revitalizing energy that never ceases to create new perspectives and start new conversations that continue to chart a path towards his future”, underlines Chiara Squarcina, Head of the Museum Activities Department.