Annealing is an essential part in creating glass art, and also, key to its final formation. The raw materials are burnt at over 1,000 °C until they turn into molten glass, ready for formation. Then the annealing process begins by heating the formed glass, and then keeping it warm, first slowly cooling it and then quickly cooling it. While slowing the speed of cooling, it can relieve the residual stress within the glass. Though controllable, it takes time to finish the process. But what is really fascinating is that it is the unknown and uncertainty in annealing that bring an unpredictable life to the glass artwork.
Since 2014, Shanghai Museum of Glass has joined hands with modern artist Zhang Ding and curator Li Li to bring a ground-breaking exhibition named “Black Substance.” In 2016, Shanghai Museum of Glass has officially renamed this exhibition as “Annealing.” Such as the uncertainty of annealing in glass creation, surprisingly and unexpectedly wonderful glass artwork in this exhibition brought together by different modern artists who contribute their own perspectives into the powerful plasticity of glass, are another form of annealing. Every year from now on, Shanghai Museum of Glass and curator Li Li will partner with a number of modern artists to continuously renew the links between modern art and glass, and to explore the infinite possibilities of glass to its best.
Every sparkle between modern artists and glass is a renewal of glass art. For Shanghai Museum of Glass, our role in this is to slow the cooling of the sparkle, and relieve the “internal stress” of modern art to its minimum for presenting the art itself in its best possible form. We sincerely hope that in each year’s exhibition, we could present our audience with artwork infused with feelings and emotions, not just cold materials merely cooled down sitting on the platform. “Annealing” not only can bring the best out of the materials, but also keep the art alive and lead an infinite life. This is also the “annealing” that will be constantly found in us.
The artwork is based on the black glass ball, which hinders the visibility inside, in three ways, and achieves the spatial balance point accredited by artists. The glass is fragile yet hard, transparent yet compact, and hot yet cold in its physical characteristics. And the artist tries to use the most basic way to make use of the primitive property of the material.
The upside-down rocks and trees made of glass portrayed some deep feelings. By echoing the scene of looking at afar by the rail found in Chinese poetry, the burnt steel rails emphasized the style presented by the broken glass.
Materials are perpetually moving. Everything that is material must occupy a space, and movement means that that the axis of time is within. The property of‘Plain’ only exists in the “moment” of our thoughts, like a flying bird rendered immobile. In this “moment”, we can also only use our imagination to ponder the whole picture of flatness.
Bi Rongrong often consciously or unconsciously adopts some wave patterns and the curiosity drive her to reuse and restructure these patterns, so these patterns gradually created more various forms, like new geometric shapes, color gradient, curve, spiral and so on, and the connections between them and the space. And then the wave pattern itself seems to be no longer important because the construction relationship has generated during the process.
The artist considers the exhibition to be a site-specific project exploring four key concepts: ‘individual consciousness’, ‘collective consciousness’, ‘public consciousness’, and ‘ultimate consciousness’. Each concept corresponds to a floor in the museum, from the second floor up to the sixth floor, as visitors embark on a sensorial journey of ‘consciousness’.
This unfamiliar scene is both fantasy and reality. We have been living in an “empty” world where we seem to own everything but at the same time risk losing them all overnight. Everybody strives for the far shore that is out of sight and perseverance is what keeps us going. In reality we are paying a high price for lacking the attitudes and sense of direction that we used to have.
Sun Xun’s project at the Shanghai Museum of Glass will be presented in two parts. The first part will be unveiled in November. From there, with greater audacity to experiment and expand, Sun Xun will complete a featured film for the second part of this project, an artistic mode he had been adopting into his practice, which is grounded on the basis of his art practice.