The exhibition Ettore Sottsass: The Glass, curated by Luca Massimo Barbero, Director of the Institute of Art History, sets out to explore the Italian designer’s complete glass production. From the 1940s onwards, Sottsass showed an interest in glass, and at the 1948 Biennale he exhibited some objects made in collaboration with the company S.A.L.I.R. from Murano. In the 1970s, again in Venice, he collaborated with the Cenedese glassworks in designing glass objects in forms that were very similar to those of his ceramics. But it was only after the Memphis group was founded (1981) that he designed thorough-going glass sculptures made by master craftsmen in the Toso glassworks. It was also then that Sottsass introduced the use of chemical glue, thus challenging centuries-old Murano glassmaking techniques.
Consisting of around 200 items, the exhibition will consist of loans from major private collections as well as objects preserved in the historical archives of the Venetian glassworks that Sottsass worked in. Moreover,
the exhibition itinerary also includes some of the splendid glass items he designed for Venini. The exhibition catalogue (Skira editore) has a fairly strictly biographical introduction followed by wider-ranging essays by the curator and the architects, museum directors and scholars who collaborated with him. A complete list of Sottsass’s production, with technical entries for each single item, is also provided, whereas the bibliography,
focused only on the glass production, consists of over 200 titles, and is the result of meticulous archive search.