Otto Piene: Weiser Lichtgeist, 1966
Credit: Royal leerdam Crystal


reblows sculpture Weisser Lichtgeist from 1961 by Otto Piene

Now, 50 years later, the master glasblowers of Royal Leerdam Crystal glass works blow again the light sculptures designed by Otto Piene in 1961. A series of 7 light sculptures were handcrafted in 1966 in Leerdam. The sculptures have a size of 1.60-up to 2.00 m high and are in 4 parts made by master blowers and master grinders and polishers of Royal Leerdam Crystal.

Posted 29 May 2013

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Royal Leerdam Crystal reblows Otto Piene’s sculpture Weisser Lichtgeist from 1961

Now, 50 years later, the master glassblowers of the Royal Leerdam Crystal glassworks blow again the light sculptures designed by Otto Piene in 1961. A series of 7 light sculptures were handcrafted in Leerdam in 1966. The sculptures have a size of 1.60 up to 2.00 m high and are in 4 parts made by Royal Leerdam Crystal’s master blowers and master grinders and polishers. The lower part has a diameter of up to 50 cm, which requires an enormous amount of strength and energy during blowing. Large parts will be made by a team of 4 glassblowers. Royal Leerdam Crystal is very honoured that Otto Piene, now 86 years, together with Valerie Hilling, Curator of the Guggenheim Museum New York and Tijs Visser, Director of the foundation managing his work, were present for blowing the first parts of the sculpture.

The sculptures
Otto Piene designed the sculpture Weisser Lichtgeist in 1961. The glass sculptures of 1.60-2.00 m high consisted of multiple parts and were executed in opal white. By the handblowing process each component and sculpture is unique and creates a beautiful place with light. In 1966, the sculptures were exhibited in the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of Philips. After this exhibition, the sculptures each individually travelled all over the world and finally there was only one left in the Museum Ostwall in Dortmund (DE). Unfortunately, a year ago a museum visitor stumbled over this last specimen.

At Otto Piene’s request the museum and the Foundation approached Royal Leerdam Crystal to inquire whether it was possible to re-create one of the sculptures. Royal Leerdam Crystal produced several copies that are presented in 2014 in a retrospective at the Guggenheim Museum and after that in Germany and in the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam.

Escher in Het Paleis
In November 2012, the museum Escher in Het Paleis celebrated its tenth anniversary. For this anniversary Otto Piene designed the ‘Langenfelder light wall’. In two halls one can see that some artists between 1960 and 1975 were, just like Escher, fascinated by movement in a still image. In a dark space bright spots and patches of colour appear and disappear.

Otto Piene
Otto Piene studied philosophy in Munich and in Dusseldorf, where he would also worked as an art school teacher later on. In 1962 he together with Heinz Mack and Günther Uecker designed a ‘light salon’ at the exhibition ‘Nul’ in the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam.

In 1765, the first bottle factory was built in Leerdam and as of 1878 they already manufacture beautiful objets d’art and ornamental objects according to traditional methods – that is handmade and mouth blown. This requires craftsmanship, creativity and many years of experience. Fortunately, Royal Leerdam Crystal has all this under one roof. Master glassblowers guarantee the exceptional quality of the products which find their way even to the Royal Family. The raw material they use is the clear Cristal Supérieur, Europe’s purest type of crystal.

For more than 100 years now,
Royal Leerdam considers design of paramount importance. The reputation of Leerdam is internationally established by famous designers such as Berlage, De Basel, Lebeau, Copier, Meydam and Siem van der Marel. The Gilde glassware designed by A.D. Copier in 1930, is still used today by Dutch embassies worldwide. Today, besides well-known designers such as Menno Jonker, Peter Bremers and Carina Riezebos, a varying group of young designers and artists are connected to the factory. They help to determine the look of Royal Leerdam Crystal and guarantee the most exquisite Leerdam Unica® and Leerdam Serica®.

More information:
Kristalfabriek / kristalwinkel / business to business showroom
Lingedijk 8, NL-4142 LD Leerdam
T: +31 (0)345-636545>

More information on Otto Piene:
The website http// it says in occasion in Celebration of Otto Piene's 85th birthday exposition Enregy Fields from January 25–April 1, 2013:
“On the occasion of Otto Piene’s upcoming 85th birthday, the ZKM l Museum of Contemporary Art presents the exhibition “Energy fields”, which, with a selection of approximately fifty works, provides insight into his work. Born in 1928, Otto Piene is considered one of the most important pioneers of a kinetic, technology-based, multi-media art.
For Piene art is not so much a conceptual phenomenon, than an energetic one. Recourse to natural scientific knowledge, as well as to the strong connection between art, technology and nature constitute the bedrock of all his works. Piene, furthermore, is among the founders of Environmental Art. Starting out from his smoke and fire paintings dating from the 1960s, the show at the ZKM exhibits “Inflatables” (inflatable sculptures), light installations, gouaches, hitherto not exhibited drawings, new ceramics and reliefs. Here, the multiplicity of media, with which the artist has worked throughout the course of his career comprises the focus of the exhibition. In addition to early paintings, which he illuminates with a stroboscope, the key work shown in the exhibition is the multi-piece air sculpture “Fleurs du Mal”.
Following his studies at the art academies of Munich and Düsseldorf, as well as a course of studies in philosophy in Cologne, towards the end of the 1950s, Otto Piene, together with Heinz Mack and Günther Uecker, was one of the founders of the ZERO movement in Düsseldorf. In 1974 he took over the Center for Advanced Visual Studies (CAVS), at the MIT in Boston, from György Kepes and, through to 1994, converted it into one of the most important centers for art and technology. As member of the board of trustees, in 1990 Piene contributed decisively to the foundation of the ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe. Today, he lives and works in Boston, Berlin and Düsseldorf.”
20 Ames Street Building E15
Atrium Level
Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139
+1 (617) 253-4680

See also Agenda> exposition 2015 Otto Piene at ARNDT Contemporary Art in Berlin>

Work in progress on Otto Piene's design
Photo: Fenestra Ateliers

Otto Piene and conservator Guggenheim Museum NY at Royal Leerdam Crystal, Leerdam, the Netherlands
Credit: Royal Leerdam Crystal

Otto Piene at the Royal Leerdam Crystal glass centre with his team of glassblowers
Photo: Royal Leerdam Crystal

Carina Riezebos, designer at Royal Leerdam Crystal measures the new lamp shades Otto Piene
Photo: Royal Leerdam Crystal

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