Venini: Light 1921-1985, curated by Marino Barovier
LE STANZE DEL VETRO: A Fondazione Giorgio Cini and Pentagram Stiftung project. Island of San Giorgio Maggiore, Venice
September 18, 2022 – January 08, 2023
From September, LE STANZE DEL VETRO will feature a unique in-depth analysis of the production of the Venini glassworks in the field of lighting. Two large-scale installations will complement the already richly varied exhibition at LE STANZE DEL VETRO: as a tribute to Carlo Scarpa, the large chandelier made of polyhedrons – designed by the architect for ‘Italia 61‘ – has been specially recreated, along with the famous ‘Velario‘ that was built for the roof of Palazzo Grassi. Both recreations will be on show on the Island of San Giorgio.
Venini: Light 1921-1985, curated by Marino Barovier, is the autumn exhibition dedicated to the history of the Venini glassworks, running at LE STANZE DEL VETRO from 18 September 2022 to 8 January 2023. The show aims to recount the production of the renowned furnace in the field of lighting, from small to large scale, showcasing some of the most representative examples. One of the most important features of Murano glass production is, in fact, lighting for both domestic uses and for large public and private environments, including ministerial buildings, post offices, theatres and hotels. The Venini glassworks distinguished itself with significant results in this sector too, particularly thanks to its capacity for constant renewal and its characteristic openness towards the world of design. These are both aspects that have made it a reference point for the most important architects of the twentieth century on the national and international scene.
Venini: Light 1921-1985 features a handpicked selection of eighty-one objects conceived by the various designers who collaborated with the furnace or by the technical office of the glassworks itself, illustrating how the theme of light was tackled in the various decades, spanning a period of time from 1921 to 1985. The protagonists include the Murano painter Vittorio Zecchin, with his refined reworking of the chandelier in the early 1920s; the sculptor Napoleone Martinuzzi, with his original pulegoso glass artefacts of 1928-30, followed by the architects Tomaso Buzzi and Carlo Scarpa, the latter of whom had a longstanding collaboration with the glassworks ending in 1947. In the 1950s, the privileged relationship between designers and the Murano furnace was further confirmed, involving architects such as Gio Ponti, Franco Albini, Ignazio Gardella and the Studio BBPR. Moreover, during this same period, Paolo Venini also called young people from the Scuola di Architettura in Venice to the glassworks, including Massimo Vignelli, who designed a series of lamps inspired by Nordic design, revisited in a Murano style. From the late 1950s, lighting appliances made from modular elements were developed, starting with the well-known polyhedrons, which were a great commercial success, alongside which, thanks to the work of Ludovico Diaz De Santillana, modules such as drops, full and hollow canes with different sections, sizes and finishes gradually entered the catalogue until the 1980s, in addition to cubes and plates, which made it possible to create various types of appliances: from hanging lamps to wall lamps, and from large installations to luminous ceilings.
The Venini: Light 1921-1985 exhibition also features two large-scale installations in the Sala Carnelutti and Piccolo Teatro of the Fondazione Giorgio Cini: as a tribute to Carlo Scarpa the monumental polychrome chandelier made of polyhedrons, made of approximately 4,000 elements, designed by the architect for the Veneto pavilion at the ‘Italia 61‘ exhibition in Turin in 1961, has been specially recreated, along with the prominent Velario made in 1951 for the roof of Palazzo Grassi with a series of “festoons” with steel cables and balloton crystal glass spheres. The Velario was dismantled in 1985 and is now visible for the first time in almost forty years. The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue, published by Skira and edited by Marino Barovier and Carla Sonego, which illustrates the main lighting interventions carried out by the furnace and illustrates the pieces on display in the exhibition.
Venini: Light 1921-1985 is also part of The Italian Glass Weeks, Italy’s most important event dedicated to artistic and industrial glass, which resulted from the merger between Vision Milan Glass Week and The Venice Glass Week. The event, specifically developed for 2022, “UN International Year of Glass“, sees the alternation of events, exhibitions, workshops, art installations, shows, and activities for children and families, as well as guided tours, cultural meetings, workshops and much more in Milan and Venice over a two-week period: in Milan, from 10 to 18 September, with a programme mainly dedicated to industrial glass and design, and in Venice from 17 to 25 September 2022, with a focus on artistic glass.