A State of Matter: Modern and Contemporary Glass Sculpture explores glass through its three different states of matter: solid, liquid and gas. Work from 1965 to the present day will be on display by 16 artists including Claire Falkenstein, Mona Hatoum, Luke Jerram, Joseph Kosuth and Hew Locke.
Glass is a mysterious and wonderful thing. Less a material than a state of matter, the heat of the furnace transforms grains of silica into molten lava, which can be stretched, flattened, moulded, blown or cast. When cooled from its molten state, glass takes on the qualities most readily associated with it, becoming transparent, reflective, fragile and ephemeral. Although a number of sculptors specialise in working with glass, A State of Matter: Modern and Contemporary Glass Sculpture also celebrates the skill of the master glassmakers who work in creative and collaborative partnerships with artists, and who make glass perform the most extraordinary feats.
The capacity of glass to take on different surface textures, colours and change its shape and physical state with such abandon means that it is exceptionally difficult to categorise. Unlike stone or wood, there is no essential ‘truth’ to glass as a material, and many long-held assumptions about glass can turn out to be deceptions. Bringing together works by 16 artists, the exhibition celebrates this infinitely variable material, used in imaginative and often subversive ways by a diverse range of artists.
Courtesy Henry Moore Institute. Photo: Rob Harris