I’ll never forget that day in June 2001 when I went to the Victoria and Albert Museum to see an exhibition by an american artist specialising in the most extraordinary hand-blown glass pieces. I’d heard of the Persian Ceiling and my friend who knew my weakness for colours and pattern suggested I drop everything and take myself to see this extraordinary display! I immediately fell in love with Dale Chihuly and his magnificent glass sculptures and the rest is history.
Some of you would have seen or at least heard about the incredible sculptural glass chandelier permanently hanging in the V&A since 2001 and some of you might have even visited Chihuly at Kew Gardens back in 2006.
Well, the incredible Chihuly is back in London. On Tuesday Harrods unveiled his new Amber and Gold Chandelier in their refurbished grand hall entrance and last Saturday a major selling show opened in London’s Halcyon Gallery. I immediately rushed over to intoxicate myself in these beautiful, complex and architectural sculptures and was particularly delighted to see neon artworks never previously shown in the UK.
Dale Chihuly: Beyond the Object concentrates on the relationship between a hand-blown glass artwork and the space it inhabits. There is an enormous amount of work displayed and I wanted to purely give you a taster and a guaranteed dose of beauty and colour. There is no way any photography can do these masterpieces any justice but I’m hoping to at least transmit the vibrancy, energy and sheer brilliance!
“For centuries people have been fascinated with glass. It’s like a gem, but fragile. Glass has history, it has life, it’s from the earth.” Dale Chihuly 1995
“There’s something about putting the pieces overhead, on top of the plate glass, that makes you think of the sea – it’s sort of the reverse of having the glass underwater. There’s a feeling of water – at least there is to me. I suppose somebody else could think it’s something they might have seen in the sky or in a dream. Dale Chihuly
” You can more directly sense my energy in my drawings than in any other way perhaps. And from the very beginning, the drawings were done, as my glass is done, very quickly, very fast.” Dale Chihuly
“I was struck by the grace of their slumped, sagging forms (Northwest Coast Indian baskets). I wanted to capture this grace in glass.” Dale Chihuly
“The Macchia series began with my waking up one day and wanting to use all 300 colours in the hotshop.” Dale Chihuly
“Over time I developed the most organic, natural way of working with glass, using the least amount of tools that I could. The glass looks as if it comes from nature.” Dale Chihuly
“I tend to do things on a large scale because it’s exciting. I like to push things in new and different ways.” Dale Chihuly
“What I’ve always really been interested in is space. Even when I made a single Cylinder or Macchia, my interest was always in space. I was thinking not of the object itself, but how the object would look in a room. What I’m looking forward to is opening the ovens in the morning and taking the pieces out and then being able to work with them. Putting them together.” Dale Chihuly 1998
I think that sums it up perfectly, don’t you?
Dale Chihuly: Beyond the Object
8th February – 5th April 2014
144-146 New Bond Street
020 7100 7144