Infinity Vessel productions in Venice

Communication installation by glass artists Sini Majuri and Marja Hepo-aho was exhibited at The Italian Glass Week’s HUB exhibition arranged in the Palazzo Loredan in Venice on 17 – 25 September 2022. The exhibition consisted of design objects by Majuri and Hepo-aho. The deeper message of the installation was to evoke discussion about the state of the contemporary glass and the artist’s responsibility as a reflector of time. The HUB installation is connected to Infinity Vessel production which was not accepted in the glass week’s program. How ever the rejected project mirroring the state of the society was welcomed to the Berengo Studio in Murano. Read an article about the exhibition at Savon Sanomat Newspaper.

In Finnish mythology and culture a swamp has a strong meaning. It is an intermediate space between water and earth, the present and the hereafter. It is where unwanted babies and misfits of the society were drowned to. In the Communication production the swamp represents the taboos of the society as well as glass field. Photo: Juha-Matti Vahdersalo

Artists gave a lecture in the Hotel Saturnia to open the unique challenges and characteristics of the field from the perspective of Finnish and international glass. Glass artists are often asked to exhibit safe, beautiful, Scandinavian objects – as the contemporary glass, which deals with society’s taboos, is in a challenging situation in front of financiers and industry institutions. These actors define the field and what kind of art is accepted.

The images by photographer Juha-Matti Vahdersalo mirror the theme of the Communication and Infinity Vessel productions – how artist must take the responsibility to highlight the taboos of the time. Scandinavian design objects rise up from the swamp – as the topics that are not to be talked about. The United Nations International Year of Glass 2022 has a significant meaning, as the endangered craftmanship is also being arranged to the Unesco’s World heritage listing. 
Paradox – Noa Milo is a part of the Infinity Vessel project exhibited in Murano. Glass vessel can be seen as a womb, a surface between an individual and the society. Fetus is the potential and hope sheltered by the insubstantial skin. Artists are using ornaments from Finnish and Ukrainian tradition. Golden hand painted pine needle is a symbol of bravery as the serpent is a protecting element. Bronze cast: Arto Hyyryläinen. Glass blower: Kari Alakoski. Photographer: Francesco Barasciutti, Venice 2022

The Communication project is connected to the Infinity Vessel production that opened in Berengo Studio in September 17th 2022 – outside the official glass week program. The triptych with an exhibition, show and a treasure hunt combine glass with multiple innovative technologies. Augmented reality and holographic art are mixed with glass that reflects the lovelessess in society; what happens to an individual when humanity and emotions are disconnected from the surrounding community. The project started when the artists decided to comment on the War in Ukraine, pandemics as well as the women’s rights.

The live glass blowing show in Berengo Studio had Teemu Nurmelin from Finnish National Theater as the visual designer. The starting point of the show is to contemplate the glassblowing demo as its own unrecognized art form. In the article of Savon Sanomat newspaper it is written, that “the experience of the glass show turned out to be powerful on many levels. A strong sense of trust was created between the audience and the artists when the hot glass mass revealed the details of the work as part of the storytelling. Some of the audience wanted to share their feelings after the show, some even cried”.

The Infinity Vessel project has more than 20 professional from different fields of technology and art in the production team. The holographic projection is by Craneworks Oy. The Infinity Vessel production is supported by Asko Foundation.

The third part of the triptych, a hunt of valuable glass artifacts hidden through the city of Venice and Murano island as a real life adventure. Visitors were encouraged to seek out sculptures and discuss the topics of the project on social media. In the treasure hunt, artists wanted to shake off the stigma of elitism from glass art, so they offered thousands of euros worth of unique glass to the public on the principle of “the finder gets to keep”.

Infinity Vessel contemporary art project pushes the limits of the ancient art of glass. A documentary about the birth and reception of the Infinity Vessel is also being made, directed by Ditte Uljas. The project is part of Corning Museum of Glass’s collection in New York.

The next Infinity Vessel show will be arranged in Detroit 2023 as the movie will be premiered in the Glass Art Society’s annual conference. The Noa Milo sculpture is also exhibited at Art Miami at the Berengo Studio’s booth in November 2022.

FRESH Finland’s adventure in Venice Glass Week 2021

FRESH Contemporary glass from Finland exhibition was held in Bel Air Fine Art gallery, in Dorsoduro, during the Venice Glass Week 2021. The FRESH project aims to crystalize what Finnish glass is today. This was my third time at the event. In the previous

Epic voyage. This expression comes across often, when people describe FRESH Finland’s Venice Glass Week project to us. And it truly was a memorable journey indeed. I started FRESH Finland last winter because I hoped to open a dialogue, locally and globally, between glass people. I believe that it’s meaningful for independent artists to work together in a real, concrete way. Especially in the midst of the pandemics it’s time to start fresh. 

The exhibition travelled to Venice by a van. Olli from Fixupaku drove the glass all the way from Helsinki. The Fresh Finland exhibition was loaded on a boat and sailed across the busy canals! Transporting art requires special knowhow and planning.
The exhibition for the glass week gathered eight glass artists together. Each of the group has a unique expression. The project also represented four Finnish glass studios, that create high quality sculptural glass: Mafka&Alakoski, Lasismi, Lasikomppania and Hytti. In the picture there are my artworks that express, how our own perspective alters the way we look at a person. Behind there are artworks by Helmi Remes, Anna Schroderus and Marja Hepo-aho.
Camilla Moberg setting up the Messengers in Glass artworks.

The exhibition was held in Bel Air Fine Art. Choosing an international contemporary art gallery as the space was a conscious choice, a statement for the relationship between blown glass and contemporary art. It’s important to see studio made, sculptural pieces in this sort of location and international events. The aim of the project is to create collaborations that last. I must say that focal point of the FRESH Finland is in the future. 

It is a great honor to have glass demo’s in Berengo studio. The piece by Sini Majuri and Marja Hepo-aho is now also part of the Berengo Studio’s collection.

FRESH had multiple glass demo’s in Murano: in Berengo Glass Studio as well as in Wave Murano Glass. It was truly touching how people in the studios warmly welcomed our Finnish group and took such good care of us! Blown glass is a living heritage that is in a state of constant reinvention. Therefore demo’s are a way to open the hidden world behind the art. It is also a human way to communicate with glass makers and studios. All the demo’s and lectures were live-streamed via Instagram. While having an adventure in Murano, we were delighted to also visit Museo del Vetro.

Glass blowing demonstrations in Berengo Studio were communicated via Instagram live shows. The demo’s can now be seen from FRESH Finland’s IGTV.
Unique sculpture by Sini Majuri and Marja Hepo-aho is now in the Museo del Vetro’s collection. The most important part of the project is the actual, face to face communication and future planning. The sculpture was created in the Venice Glass Week live held in Riihimäki before the journey to Venice.

FRESH Finland’s core is in the collaboration. In The Venice Glass Week there were both artists with decades of experience as well as professionals that just recently have started their career; in total eight artists that each have their unique recognizable style and expression. It is meaningful to be able to work together in this rare way. It is interesting to see what the future holds! At the moment the FRESH group is starting to plan exhibitions and continuing the philosophy of the project; working together, thinking fresh, expressign fresh.

Paula Pääkkönen created a sculpture in Berengo Studio.
The glass demo’s are the soul of the project, because in the studio, the glass is alive. Marja Hepo-aho, Paula Pääkkönen and Sini Majuri hosted multiple demo’s in the studios in Murano. It is a rare opportunity to connect in this special way – and to be welcomed in these magical places that are often hidden from the public.
There are eight glass artists in the first FRESH Finland exhibition: Sini Majuri, Marja Hepo-aho, Anu Penttinen, Anna Schroderus, Camilla Moberg, Paula Pääkkönen. Helmi Remes, Anna-Kaisa Kukkonen-Madi. In the picture the group celebrates the opening gala of the Glass Week.
It was delightful also meet Laura from A’Design Award and receiwe the winner book from my designs. It’s interesting to open a discussion about the role of the studio glass in international Design Awards. We should definitely see it as a category.

My work Technicolor mixes blown glass and fish skin. It expresses femininity in classic movies. It is also a combination of three rare craftsmanships: blacksmith, cobbler and a glass blower works.
During the Venice Glass Week was a great honor to also take part into discussion panel about Future innovations about glass art. You can see the panel from glass weeks youtube channel. Sini Majuri’s works were also in the Venice Glass Week HUB exhibition in Palazzo Loredan.