Press release

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Glasstress: White Light / White Heat
Contemporary artists and glass
Collateral Event of the 55th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia

Ron Arad, Mat Collishaw, Tracey Emin, Ilya and Emilia Kabakov, Tim Noble & Sue Webster, Cornelia Parker, Conrad Shawcross, Joanna Vasconcelos, Miroslaw Balka, Cai Guo Quiang and others create their first glass works in Murano, co-curated by Adriano Berengo and James Putnam.
In a unique collaboration between the Berengo Studio (Venice), Venice Projects (Venice), London College of Fashion and the Wallace Collection (London), Glasstress: White Light/White Heat presents the newly commissioned work of some of today’s most important contemporary artists, most of whom will be working in glass for the first time.
The exhibition builds on the success of two previous Venice Art Biennale Glasstress shows (2009, 2011), with some fifty artists invited to respond to the theme of light and heat, the components of fire, the fundamental elements involved in the formation of the universe and also the essence of glassblowing. Light is integral to our perception of glass, while heat is required to shape it.
The show includes some major and emerging contemporary artists including: Alice Anderson, Polly Apfelbaum, Ron Arad, Miroslaw Balka, Rina Banerjee, Fiona Banner, Loris Cecchini, Hussein Chalayan, Mat Collishaw, Tony Cragg, Tracey Emin, Paul Fryer, Stuart Haygarth, Shirazeh Houshiary, Shih Chieh Huang, John Isaacs, Michael Joo, Ilya & Emilia Kabakov, Hew Locke,

Alastair Mackie, Kris Martin, Whitney McVeigh, Tim Noble & Sue Webster, Cornelia Parker, Cai Guo Qiang, Thomas Schütte, Conrad Shawcross, Meekyoung Shin, Joana Vasconcelos, Mariko Mori, Joseph Kosuth, Jason Martin, Jaume Plensa, Koen Vanmechelen. Other artists involved reflect the influence of London College of Fashion such as Lucy Orta, Charlotte Hodes, Boudicca and Helen Storey.
Adriano Berengo, President of Berengo Studio, is celebrating 20 years of working with artists this year. The studio was founded in Murano in 1989, with the first works created in collaboration with artists in 1993, inspired largely by Peggy Guggenheim’s fascination in the artistic possibilities of glass. Guggenheim encouraged modernist artists like Kokoschka, Picasso, Braque, Chagall and Max Ernst, to experiment with Venetian glass, feeling that it shouldn’t be relegated to the purely decorative. With the Glasstress shows he is offering a selection of contemporary artists the chance to explore this fascinating medium.
Professor Frances Corner, Pro Vice Chancellor, LCF, says

“We wanted to create a collaboration with Berengo Studio and The Wallace Collection to help change perceptions about all of our disciplines – craftsmanship, glassmaking and fashion.  Fashion is such a transformative medium: we all use it to change the way we look and express ourselves.  The artists in our exhibition are transforming glass, ‘fashioning’ it into something that carries so much more meaning than the raw material.  There is an exciting alchemy at work here.”

Glasstress: White Light / White Heat will open at the preview of the Venice Biennale on 31 May at the Palazzo Cavalli Franchetti on the Grand Canal and at the Berengo Centre for Contemporary Art and Glass accompanied by dynamic performances from Alice Anderson and Cai Guo Qiang.
Ron Arad's work for the exhibition also has a performative and interactive element. Entitled "Last Train", it is inspired, he says, by a late night train journey in which he witnessed a man using the large diamond ring on his hand to graffiti a train window. Arad has invited artists such as

Anthony Gormley and David Shrigley to use a specially created iPad programme to manipulate a bejewelled hand that scratches their drawings into a large piece of plate glass. The finished works will be on display in the Palazzo Cavalli Franchetti.

At the close of the Biennale, a selection of pieces from the exhibition will travel to London College of Fashion’s

Fashion Space Gallery and to the Wallace Collection, where the contemporary work will be in dialogue with their important Venetian glass collection. Adriano Berengo offered a prize for University of the Arts alumni to create a work in glass to be fabricated at his studio and exhibited as part of Glasstress: White Light / White Heat.

A major publication will accompany Glasstress: White Light / White Heat, which will also be featured in the official Biennale catalogue.
For further press information please contact Alice or Theresa at Theresa Simon & Partners: +44 20 7734 4800,

For further information on London College of Fashion please contact: Lynsey Fox: +44 20 7514 2998,

Italian press office: Irma Bianchi Comunicazione, Milan

+39 02 89404694
For updates see

Press Day: 30 May, 10.00 – 18.00

Opening (invitation only): 31 May 2013, 18.00 - 20.30 at Palazzo Cavalli Franchetti-Venice / 21.00-Midnight at the Berengo Centre for Contemporay Art and Glass-Murano

Exhibition runs 1 June - 24 Nov 2013 at:

  • Istituto Veneto di Scienze Lettere ed Arti at the Palazzo Cavalli Franchetti (Campo Santo Stefano – San Marco, Venezia)

  • Berengo Centre for Contemporary Art and Glass, Campiello della Pescheria, Murano, Venezia

  • Scuola Grande Confraternita di San Teodoro, San Marco, venezia

Nov 2013 - Jan 2014

  • The Wallace Collection, Hertford House, Manchester Square, London, W1U 3BN

  • Fashion Space Gallery, London College of Fashion, 20 John Princes Street W1G 0BJ

Notes to Editors

London College of Fashion

London College of Fashion has an international reputation as a leading provider of fashion education, research and consultancy. The unique portfolio of specialist courses range in level, from short courses to Postgraduate. The subject range corresponds to the process of the creation, production and promotion of fashion and the management and marketing of those activities. Many of the College’s courses are unique to the UK and offer students an experience unmatched by even a handful of specialist colleges worldwide.

The College's work is centred on the development of ideas: its staff and students use fashion alongside historical and cultural practice to challenge social, political and ethical agendas. This, combined with its forward-thinking business and management portfolio and its relationship with the global fashion and lifestyle industries, is the underpinning of its mission to "Fashion the Future." Every dimension of the fashion industry employs LCF graduates from established designers like Jimmy Choo OBE and Beatrix Ong OBE (footwear) to rising stars like William Tempest (fashion designer), and respected entrepreneur and Chairman of the British Fashion Council, Harold Tillman CBE as well as fashion journalists Melanie Rickey and Sarah Harris.

James Putnam is an independent curator and writer. He founded and was curator of the British Museum’s Contemporary Arts and Cultures Programme from 1999 to 2003. His book ‘Art and Artifact – The Museum as Medium’ (Thames & Hudson, 2009) explores the interaction between contemporary artists and the museum. He has curated an ongoing series of critically acclaimed projects with contemporary artists at London’s Freud Museum, including: Sophie Calle, Sarah Lucas, Tim Noble and Sue Webster and Mat Collishaw. He was curator of Arte ‘all Arte 9, Tuscany (2005) and was on the curatorial committee for the 2006 Echigo Tsumari Triennial, Japan. In 2009 he curated ‘Distortion’ and ‘Library’ as collateral exhibitions of the 53rd Venice Biennale. He was a curator for the Busan Biennale, S.Korea (2010). Most recently he curated ‘The Knowledge’ exhibition for the 54th Venice Biennale (2011) with a site-specific installation by Chiharu Shiota. From 2003-2004 he was Visiting Scholar in Museum Studies at New York University and is currently Senior Research Fellow, Exhibitions at the University of the Arts, London.

Adriano Berengo

Adriano Berengo was born in Venice and graduated from the Ca’ Foscari University of Venice in 1976. He completed his education with post-graduate studies in Comparative Literature at SUNY,

obtaining a PhD. He founded “Gradiva,” an interdisciplinary journal the same year. From 1977-1981, Berengo taught English and literature in Italy. In 1982, he became the artistic director of the Salviato & Company Glass Works, founding Berengo Studio in 1989 to promote glass as an artistic medium. In 2007 he established Venice Projects, an organization dedicated to artists who have achieved Venice Biennale stature. Berengo has organized many solo and group exhibitions at international museums and cultural institutions to promote the artists and their work.
The Wallace Collection is a national museum in an historic London town house. The collection was acquired principally in the 19th century by the third and fourth Marquesses of Hertford and Sir Richard Wallace. In the 29 galleries are unsurpassed displays of French eighteenth-century paintings, furniture and porcelain together with one of the world’s finest collections of Old Master paintings. A magnificent collection of princely arms and armour is shown in four galleries and there are further important displays of gold boxes, miniatures, sculpture and Medieval and Renaissance works of art.

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