September 22, 2010


The Glass Delusion at The National Glass Centre Curated by Grainne Sweeney and Alessandra Pace

'The Glass Delusion’ was the name given in the late Middle Ages and Baroque times to a form of depression. The syndrome evokes a psychological separation between reality and imagination. Sufferers were obsessive, compulsive, driven by irrational fears and envisioned themselves to be made of glass, hence delicate and vulnerable to scrutiny. More than any other material glass lends itself to speculations: as a transparent membrane it separates and connects, magnifies yet shrinks, reflects and deforms; it is a barrier, yet allows light to pass through it, it can be delicate as well as deadly and its attributes are appropriated in many symbolic ways: the Glass Brain and the Glass Man; mirror image, alter ego, Doppelganger, and split personality all come to mind. It is this duality, the ability to combine opposites, that is the inspiration for this exhibition of contemporary art, artefacts and scientific objects that tell the story of human attempts to reconcile the physical and mental worlds.

above image:
Alan Bennett Klein Bottles Lampworked glass

Michelangelo Pistoletto
A Cubic Metre of Infinity (Minus Objects), 1966
Inward facing mirrors tied together with a cord to form a sealed box

Beryl Sokoloff
My Mirrored Hope, 1962
17' 16mm film: Clarence Schmidt (1897 – 1978) was a plasterer by trade and a movie set builder for the silent film studios of the 1930s. In 1931 he inherited land on a mountainside in upstate Woodstock, N.Y. and Schmidt and his wife relocated. In Woodstock he worked as a handyman and began building a massive house/labyrinth that would become his life's work. Over the years it grew into a huge assemblage of wooden window frames, mirrors, walkways, bedsteads and other found objects. By the time it burned to the ground, in 1968, it was a monument of outsider art — 30 rooms spread over seven stories and topped by a garden.