Alan Jaras: Refractograph


-an intersection between art and science

Light, glass and their interaction from an artistic and scientific point of view are the theme of the exhibition conceived and promoted by Vicarte, the research unit “Glass and Ceramics for the Arts” based in the campus of the Faculty of Sciences and Technology of the Universidade Nova de Lisboa.

Posted 2 January 2015

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The event is organized in Venice on the occasion of the International Year of Light 2015 from February 8th to April 19th, in collaboration with the Istituto Veneto di Scienze, Lettere ed Arti.

Rosa Barovier Mentasi

15 International artists were invited to develop works on the theme of glass and light
for the rooms of Palazzo Loredan’s old library, by the curators Rosa Barovier Mentasti and Francesca Giubilei. The works presented speak to the interaction between light and glass from both a formal and conceptual point of view.

Using neon or natural light, borosilicate glass for micro or macro sculptures, old Murano techniques or new technologies, photography, painting and drawing, transparency and luminescence, Teresa Almeida, Mika Aoki, Enrico Tommaso De Paris, Armanda Duarte, Veronica Green, Alan Jaras, Anna-Lea Kopperi, Richard Meitner, Éric Michel, Diogo Navarro, Fernando Quintas, Silvano Rubino, Elisabeth Scherffig, Cesare Toffolo and Robert Wiley will animate the spaces of Istituto Veneto with interesting experimentations.

Francesca Giubilei

Former work Mika Aoki, Fluctuation of life, 2010. In the exposition a site specific installation will be shown

The project is coordinated by António Pires de Matos, Isabel Silveira Godinho and Andreia Ruivo of Vicarte.
Light and indirectly also vision, have always fascinated philosophers, physicists and artists alike. Light understood as both a physical entity with wave and particle duality, or as a sacred and transcendental entity, has always been central to our ability to grasp Reality in both its concrete and spiritual respects.
Metaphorically light representsThe Beginning, but also Knowledge as opposed to the darkness of ignorance. Light is both related to- and opposed to non-existence, just as white exists on the basis of its relationship to its opposite, black. But what are white and black really?
And why are we able to perceive colors? The electromagnetic spectrum of white has
all the possible frequencies related to the range of colours visible to the human eye.
Contrariwise, black is the absorption of all frequencies. Today we know that reality
is revealed to us through our eyes as the result of the interaction of light and matter, i.e. the relationship between them is the basis of our visual perception. Because of reflection and absorption, we can see things and experience colours.

Vicarte (Lisbon) The research unit is a partnership between the Faculty of Sciences and Technology of the Universidade Nova de Lisboa and the Faculty of Fine Arts of the Universidade de Lisboa. The research at Vicarte connects the present with the past, developing new materials for glass and ceramics, and for contemporary art.
In addition, traditional and historical production practices are researched, and new theoretical and practical approaches to art are being studied and developed.
Istituto Veneto di Scienze, Lettere ed Arti (Venice) is an Academy with the goals of developing and diffusing science, humanities, and art, and to promote and directly support scientific research. The Istituto collaborates with Academies, Universities,
Schools of Higher Studies and Research Centres on both the national and the international level. The project “Glass in Venice” promoted artistic glass in the Murano tradition, as well as work of contemporary artists exploring new techniques.

Fernando Quintas: UV detail

Mika Aoki, detail Her Song

Glass can absorb, transmit, reflect, and refract light, and it can also multiply or distort
our vision. Glass is a membrane, a border, which can conceal and protect, a diaphragm between the external world and the internal world, between closed and open space.
It has the ability to limit the passage of air or any other material, but at the same time,
it allows light to pass freely through it. Because of these properties glass was considered a magical material in the Middle Ages, linking the visible and the invisible, earthly reality and the divine.

Participating artists

Teresa Almeida / Portugal
She is a young artist and designer interested in exploring the link between art and
technology. She is currently working with luminescent glass, reconstituting aesthetic
forms whose point of departure is environmental destruction. Her main interests are
technology, handicrafts, ecology, sustainability and design for empowerment and social innovation.

Mika Aoki / Japan

Mika Aoki: Her Song

She works mainly with glass. Her works represent spores, microorganisms, mould,
natural forms, and biological systems scattered over the most diverse environments
that become animated in the presence of light. Her research is somewhere between
science, art and fantasy. Her transparent and delicate works seem to disappear in the
dark and become visible only with light.

Armanda Duarte / Portugal
The artistic universe of Armanda Duarte is everyday life. Her works, always small and
discrete from the point of view of dimension and vision, are small stories, fragments
of seemingly insignificant reality. The quiet materials are her favourites, because with
their low profile they avoid the kind of ostentation that she hates in her works of art.

Veronica Green / New Zealand

Veronica Green: Collecting Poppies

Her origins and studies allowed her to live in close proximity to the culture and
the art of the Maoris, which has strongly influenced her work. She uses bright and
dense colours, brilliant materials and fluorescent paint, ingredients that transport us
to her symbolic world. Her works are developed on different levels of interpretation
and formal realisation: beginning from the light of day the natural areas that
are represented plunge the observer into all-consuming and deceptive domains,
transporting him to the darkness of a completely different world, one that is also
magic and seductive.

Alan Jaras / Great Britain

He is a scientist and an artist who after leaving his career as industrial researcher and
microscopist has directed his energy to the study and relation between art and science.
Alan Jaras transforms light into art works. His works are classical photographs of light beams passing through sheet glass with varying surface attributes at differing angles. Multi-coloured images result from this process, recalling the depths of the sea or faraway galaxies.

Alan Jaras: Reflectograph

Anna-Lea Kopperi / Finland
Anna-Lea Kopperi is a conceptual artist known because for her interactive and
environmental works, installations and public sculptures, which lead us to consider the environmental, architectural and social aspects of the places in which they become
situated. Her ephemeral and site-specific projects use subjective perceptions in
order to pose existential questions. She often employs mirror fragments set in very
specific ways to reflect the surroundings and refract light creating a surreal, spiritually
evocative atmosphere.

Éric Michel / France

He is a French multi-media artist who works mainly with light and colour. His lightworks are essentially based in research on the immaterial. Light plays a very important role and is the vehicle for conveying his sensitivity. Its both wave and particle nature, material and immaterial, effects transportation from the real to the imaginary.

Eric Michel: Infini

Richard Meitner / Netherlands

Richard Meitner: In Other Words, 2014

The poetic and intellectual work of Richard Meitner reflects a great variety of
influences, from Japanese textile to Italian painting, from applied arts to science. His
works in glass often include other materials, such us rust, enamel, bronze, terracotta,
and paint. Meitner plays with unusual juxtapositions of shapes and materials that
speak to the interface between art and science, intellect and spirit.

Diogo Navarro / Portugal
He is an artist especially interested in expressing the pictorial potential of different
materials. His works on canvas or wood are made of an assemblage of materials
in which light frequently is the main actor. Clusters of painting explode like flashes,
metal and glass reflecting the external light, which then becomes part of the work
of art.
Fernando Quintas / Portugal
He is interested in the connection between painting and tri-dimensionality.
In his works, quite frequently sculptures in glass, he plays with colours and with
light to create a short circuit between volume and surface. The dialogue between
architecture and the environment is a recurring element in his work.
Silvano Rubino / Italy

His artistic activity includes photography, video and sculpture. His interest is focussed
on the activation of space and the relationship between the environment and
the viewer, between the work and the public; quite often returning to form studies,
studies of light and equally to the exploration of words. The material he usually uses
for his sculptural works is glass, worked by the skilful hands of the Murano artisans,
is deprived of most of its traditional qualities (luminosity and transparency)
and acquires a more ambiguous, deceptive nature.

Elisabeth Scherffig / Germany

Her artistic research revolves around the concept of space. The primary technique is
drawing, very detailed and able to show us surfaces in the smallest details, perceivable as the intimate structure of things. Over the last years she has devoted herself to the observation and photography of heterogeneous glass surfaces, which she converts into pastel drawings on paper. This project connected with glass is a study, through drawing, of vision and light.

Elisabeth Scherffig

Enrico Tommaso De Paris / Italy

As a multi-media artist he uses the most expressive language from painting to
installation, from video to digital images. His works have their roots both in science
and in philosophy. His installations, quite often site-specific, transform the space in
which they are exhibited into a place of reflection on contemporaneity: the macro and
microscopic reality become represented like our DNA, like the atoms from the time
of Democritus that represent the elements composing any material. Everything arrives
in a mixture of light and sound, glass, plastics and steel.

Enrico T. de Paris: Chromosoma

Cesare Toffolo / Italy
He is a Master of glass and artist who is renowned for the creative ability he applies
to the development of new techniques for lampworking. His manual virtuosity and
mastery of glass allow him to make very complex works of art in which the human
figure is always present, even if it has a secondary role with respect to the architectural foundation which surrounds and overpowers it. He began some years ago working with luminescent glass to make works in dialogue with science.

Robert Wiley / USA
Robert Wiley’s research is currently focused on study of the nature of creativity, and
points of approach and divergence between art and science. Understanding the deeper
mechanisms of creative thought (artistic and scientific) is the most important element
of his work, often works in glass, in which the material acquires a symbolic role.
His artistic practice emerges from exercise and meditation, leading him to create
works that span the gap between analytical thought and poetry.

The current exhibition in 2015, “Within light / Inside glass. An intersection between art and science” takes place during the International Year of Light 2015, a global initiative aimed at increasing public awareness of the great importance of light and light-based technologies for our future.
As a precursor to this exhibition and its theme of glass and light, a collaboration has been developed between Axo Light, one of the most dynamic Italian lighting companies, Vicarte and the artist Richard Meitner. Art and industrial design will join forces in this special project for which Meitner will develop prototypes for a series of lamps utilizing both the advanced lighting technology of Axo Light and the experience and research represented by Vicarte. This exhibition will feature some of the first steps connected with this collaboration.

Istituto Veneto di Scienze Lettere ed Arti
Palazzo Loredan
Campo S. Stefano
San Marco 2945
I-30124 Venezia, Italy ‎
+39 041 240 7711 ‎

Fernando Quintas: UV detail

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