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Victoria & Albert Museum

Beyond the Glass Gallery at the Victoria and Albert Museum

100 new contemporary objects on display

Victoria and Albert Museum

Since the opening of the Glass Gallery in 1994, the V&A has acquired over 100 new works by contemporary artists and designers. This show presents a selection of works from all over the world, some of which are on display for the first time. A primary objective, according to curator Jennifer Opie, is to highlight the flexibility of glass as an artistic medium, from the practical and unobtrusive, to special and flamboyant decorative pieces. One highlight is the museum’s most recent acquisition, Ann Robinson’s, “Square Nikau”, which recreates the harmony of New Zealand’s rich landscape. Using a modified version of wax bronze casting, she makes vessels that are never practical, but “can symbolise the world, the sky and the womb”. The selection of Japanese glass has grown considerably since 1994—Denji Takeuchi’s “Cosmopolitan No.162” uses coloured glass and light-reactive glue to explore the effects of light reflected off and refracted through the material, while Naoto Yokoyama’s tubular “candlelight” celebrates the fluidity of hot liquid glass. For David Reekie, glass is a means of exposing urban human situations. His recent “A Captive Audience” (above), addresses the current issue of cloning—seven identical men stand trapped inside a fence, while the unique one at the back makes a dash for freedom. The show also features several works by well known American glass artist Dale Chihuly.

Appeared in The Art Newspaper Archive, 124 April 2002