Since the very beginning of his career, Bernard Heesen (Leerdam,1958) has worked on a glass oeuvre that has its origins in the Great Exhibition at the Crystal Palace in London in 1851. The diversity of objects displayed in this groundbreaking exhibition has inspired Heesen to create a visual idiom that has earned him a unique place within contemporary glass. Strange and colourful in equal measure, his baroque glass objects cry out for our attention, sometimes attracting, sometimes repelling. Bernard Heesen is unique in his ability to reveal the unsung qualities of the decorative arts of the nineteenth century – long known as The Ugly Period – and to translate them into a completely personal design style.
The multi-facetted work of Massimo Micheluzzi (Venice,1957)evinces the beauty of his native Venice to no small degree. His legendary murrina vessels evoke the reflections on the waters of the city with its manifold textures, the grey of a cloudy day or the silver lustre of the lagoons. “I wanted to convey a sense of motion by means of a static material, like a Canaletto painting”, Micheluzzi explains. Today, he is one of the few glass artists on Murano who still has mastery of the elaborate murrina technique. Equally unique are his battuto glasses recalling beaten silver.
Micheluzzi’s works are part of numerous prominent collections.
It would be difficult to imagine a better city for Ritsue Mishima (Kyoto, 1962) to live and work in than Venice. Following her heart from her origins in Japan, she settled in this western microcosm of extremes at the heart of a centuries old tradition of glass making, where hot, bellowing ovens transform sand to crystal.
Mishima’s work, which began with a search for the ideal vase, displays a duality of its own: one of machismo against alluring femininity. ‘Male’ by virtue of the muscle that forms it, yet softened by her insistence that her craftsmen concede to chance, however deep their aversion to it.
Even though her glass objects display a catalogue of Venetian craft, the absence of colour makes them very un-Italian. They are as clear as the water that surrounds the city, and as sparkling as the poetic light that brings it to life. Mishima’s vases pull you into a daydream of the flora and fauna in this briny sweetness.