11 May - 26 November 2017
Returning to Venice for the 57th Venice Biennale, Glasstress brings together 33 leading contemporary artists from Europe, the United States, the Middle East and China in an ambitious exhibition exploring the endless creative possibilities of glass. Conceived by Fondazione Berengo, the project will take place in two exceptional historic locations: Palazzo Franchetti in Venice and a converted furnace in Murano.
Since its debut as a collateral event of the Venice Biennale in 2009, Glasstress has revived the traditional craft of Murano glassblowing by forging new alliances with internationally renowned artists and designers and has since become an unparalleled platform showcasing ground-breaking new works in glass.
The 2017 edition of Glasstress presents an impressive line-up of artists including Ai Weiwei, Jan Fabre, Abdulnasser Gharem, Alicja Kwade, Paul McCarthy, Laure Prouvost, Ugo Rondinone, Thomas Schütte and Sarah Sze. With little or no prior experience working with glass, these artists have embraced the challenge of creating extraordinary works in this very delicate medium in collaboration with Muranese artisans. The remarkable output of this unusual encounter defies the stereotypes associated with this ancient craft, ultimately pushing the boundaries of both contemporary art and glass.
Glasstress 2017 is curated by Dmitry Ozerkov (Director of the Hermitage 20/21 Project for Contemporary Art at the State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg), Herwig Kempinger (President of Secession, Association of Visual Artists, Vienna) and Adriano Berengo (President of Fondazione Berengo and founder of Glasstress, Venice), with the consultancy of Clare Phyllis Davies (Assistant Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, Middle East, North Africa, and Turkey at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York).
Major highlights this year include the participation of Belgian artist Koen Vanmechelen who will produce a spectacular installation exploring recycling and sustainability in the gardens of Palazzo Franchetti supported by ECO-oh!. The artists representing the Austrian Pavilion, Brigitte Kowanz and Erwin Wurm, will also experiment with glass and create striking installations at Palazzo Franchetti, while in Murano, Loris Gréaud makes his GLASSTRESS debut with a special project. The French artist will bring an abandoned glass furnace back to life with his iMmersive solo exhibition The Unplayed Notes Factory curated by Nicolas Bourriaud.