The “Glass Tea House Mondrian” is a new initiative from those organized by Le Stanze del Vetro, broadening its horizons, and involving internationally renowned artists to plan and design an architectural pavilion for Le Stanze del Vetro, following the example of the “Pavilion Series” of the Serpentine Gallery in London.
The “Glass Tea House Mondrian” by Hiroshi Sugimoto is inspired by pre-modern abstraction, as perfected by Sen no Rikyû, in the Japanese tradition of the tea ceremony, “I decided that a Japanese transliteration of the name “Mondrian” would be an ideal name. I combined three characters – 聞鳥庵 – that betoken “a modest house where one can hear the birds sing.” I like to think that this tea house was designed by Mondrian after he heard Sen no Rikyû speaking to him through the singing of the birds”, says artist Hiroshi Sugimoto.
The Pavilion consists of two main elements, an open-air landscape courtyard and an enclosed glass cube. The landscape courtyard (40m long and 12.5m wide) follows a path along a reflecting pool leading the visitor to a glass cube (2.5m x 2.5m).
Inspired by the Ise-shrine, the exterior fence around the pavilion is made entirely of cedar wood and realized through a contribution by Sumitomo Forestry Co. Ltd. Hiroshi Sugimoto and Sumitomo Forestry chose the cedar wood from the Tohoku region for their commitment in helping to reconstruct areas which were devastated by the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami.
The long reflecting pool made of the glass mosaics at the centre of the landscape courtyard represents the other main feature of the installation; it leads the visitor to the key area of the pavilion, i.e. the glass tea house. The reflecting pool is made possible thanks to the collaboration with Fondazione Bisazza.
Technical know-how and handcraft traditions are combined in the construction of the glass cube, and of the wooden elements, bringing together history and modernity, craftsmanship and technology. The glass cube is made by Asahi Building-Wall Co. Ltd, a leading company in the production of architectural glass structures and engineering solutions for glass facades or structural building elements.
The tea utensils used for the performance of the tea ceremony are designed by Hiroshi Sugimoto and produced by crafts men in Kyoto.
On this occasion Hiroshi Sugimoto has designed a limited-edition glass tea bowl at Simone Cenedese’s furnace in Murano. The glass tea bowl is on sale at the bookshop of Le Stanze del Vetro.
The “Glass Tea House Mondrian” is an innovative project as it offers a space in which to present and experience architecture, where the pavilion itself becomes the exhibition, an innovative example in which the artist can freely suggest a theme and a project, open to the possibility of experimenting with the setting, shapes, building techniques and innovative materials.
The Liechtenstein art association Kunstverein Schichtwechsel is inviting young artists from the European microstates Liechtenstein, Iceland, Luxembourg and Montenegro to engage in dialogue and work together. Within the framework of the Collateral Event The Silver Lining they will focus on past events and question how these events have shaped their current living situations.
The starting point is Walter Benjamin’s text, On The Concept of History, in which he describes the history of humanity as a “chain of events”, events which retrospectively take on the appearance of a single catastrophe. Despite this growing “pile of debris”, humanity’s desire for progress drives us inexorably, blindly into the future.
Benjamin wrote the text in 1939 at the onset of the Second World War, which forced him to flee as a result of his heritage and led him to commit suicide a year later. His sombre view of the world is challenged by alternative views on events by young artists – events which have inspired them and have positively shaped their lives and the lives of those around them. A particular focus is the influence of coming from or living in a small country. The artists’ subjective and critical perspectives provide a glimpse into life in a microstate and simultaneously address the process of constructing history.
The artists are on site for the duration of the ten-day Collateral Event and will develop their work during this time. They will present their artistic practice within a programme involving short talks and feedback discussions; visitors will be engaged by varied means, including performances.
The exhibition The Silver Lining will be housed in the Palazzo Trevisan courtesy of the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia, also home to the Salon Suisse.
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