Berengo Studio was established in 1989 by Adriano Berengo, a Venitian entrepreneur whose goal was to renovate the tradition of Murano glass by crossbreeding it with the global culture of contemporary art. He took inspiration from Egidio Costantini and his Fucina degli Angeli, where in the Fifties great artists such as Picasso, Chagall and Lucio Fontana came to work with glass. The project of Berengo Studio began to bear fruit in the Nineties, when the first artists accepted to collaborate with the Murano master glassmakers of Berengo’s furnace to transform the concepts of bi-dimensional painting and drawing into three-dimensional glass sculptures. Today the Berengo collection is composed by the creations of more than 140 international artists. Glass, delivered from conventional fetters, becomes a new medium of expression for the creation of plastic and pictorial works.
Mission: glassmaking and contemporary art
Glass was regarded by the twentieth-century art world as merely decorative. Berengo’s vision of uniting artists with glass masters has served to elevate glass to the major medium it is today, and one that opens new frontiers for the artists who approach and mine it. As recalled by Marina Cashdan on The New York Times Style Magazine: “While glass has served artists for centuries, it’s a material that remains relatively unexplored in contemporary practice. The Italian entrepreneur Adriano Berengo wanted to change this. Following in the footsteps of Peggy Guggenheim, whose involvement in Fucina degli Angeli (Force of Angels) brought some of the most prolific artists of the mid-20th century — including Oscar Kokoshka, Alexander Calder and Marc Chagall — to Venice to work with the city’s skilled glass artisans, Berengo opened his own glass studio in Venice in 1989 to ‘help artists translate their ideas, their projects and sometimes their dreams into glass sculptures.’”
The artists chosen to work with Berengo Studio are not glass artists, so they bring a diverse approach to glass that reveals the multiplicity of the material. The artists often challenge the glass masters to move beyond the normal realm of their craft, producing new techniques in glass making. As the artist Koen Vanmechelen puts it: “Berengo is well aware that the relationship between artist and glassmaker is, by definition, a fragile one; that the glassmaker has only a few seconds in which to transform the hot lump of glass into what the artist is aiming for, and that that can be a source of tension. He understands that striking the right balance between the artistic and the artisanal requires perfect harmony between the two participants.”
Selection of artists who have collaborated with Berengo Studio:
Adi Holzer, Aldo Mondino, André Verdet, Andrea Salvador, Anna Paola Cibin, Bengt Lindström, Charlotte Hodes, Christoph Kiefhaber, Claude Venard, Dusciana Bravura, Elvira Bach, Erik Dietman, Ernst Billgren, Fabrizio Plessi, France Malo, Franco Losvizzero, Gerda Gruber, Gubbels Klaas, Han de Kluijver, Hannes Van Es, Harmon Biddle, Irene Rezzonico, James Coignard, Jan Van Oost, Juan Ripollés, Kanamori Saiji, Kiki Kogelnik, Koen Vanmechelen, Koji Kinutani, Lena Cronqvist, Leonardo Cimolin, Lolita Timofeeva, Luciano Castelli, Lucio Pozzi, Luigi Benzoni, Marco Lamoyi, Maria Grazia Rosin, Marie Louise Ekman, Marion Borgelt, Martin Bradley, Marya Kazoun, Mauro Bonavenura, Michel Van Overbeeke, Nikita Alexeev, Pino Castagna, Reinhoud d’Haese, René Rietmeyer, Riccardo Licata, Richard Jolley, Robert Zeppel Sperl, Sandro Sergi, Sergej Mironenko, Sergio Bovenga, Shan Shan Sheng, Shozo Shimamoto, Silvain Silvano Rubino, Silvio Vigliaturo, Soile Yli Mayry, Ulrik Vintersborg, Ursula Huber, Wurmkos, Yan Zoritchak
Latest initiatives: Venice Projects and Glasstress
In 2009, in order to extend to reach and the significance of his project, Adriano Berengo initiated a new gallery, Venice Projects (www.veniceprojects.com). Through Venice Projects he meant to promote an evolution in the relationship between art and glass. Therefore he organized a collateral exhibition of the Venice Biennale 2009 aimed at reporting the use of glass in contemporary art. The exhibition, called Glasstress (www.glasstress.org), included historical pieces by Man Ray, Lucio Fontana, Robert Rauschenberg, Richard Hamilton, Giuseppe Penone and Joseph Kosuth, and more recent glass artworks by, among others, Tony Cragg, Lawrence Carroll, Chen Zhen and Jannis Kounellis. The experiment was so successful that Glasstress had a new edition at the 2011 Biennale, with several works specially commissioned for the event by outstanding artists, designers and architects (Barbara Bloom, Jan Fabre, Vik Muniz, Tony Oursler, Javier Pérez, Thomas Schütte, Kiki Smith, Yutaka Sone, Mike + Doug Starn, Patricia Urquiola, Zaha Hadid, Fred Wilson and many others). Now Glasstress, while waiting for the 2013 edition, has taken up traveling the world. After the first two stages at the Millesgärden Museum in Stockholm , and the Art Museum Bourse in Riga , Glasstress has moved to New York, at the Museum of Arts and Design .
Museum collections and galleries
Artworks from Berengo Studio have been displayed in numerous museums all over the world, including:
Hong Kong Museum of Arts, Hong Kong Kunstmuseum Düsseldorf, Germany Corning Museum, New York, USA Athenaeum, Museum of Architecture, Chicago, USA Ernsting Museum, Coefeld, Germany Museum Belvedere, Vienna, Austria Kasama Nichido Museum, Matsumoto, Japan Maison de L’Outil, Troyes, France Frans Haals Museum, Haarlem, The Netherlands Museum Gorcum, Goringhen, The Netherlands GlasMuseum, Nogeveen, The Netherlands Museum of Zwolle, Zwolle, The Netherlands Cobra Museum, Amstelveen, The Netherlands Palazzo Ducale, Venice, Italy XLVII Biennale di Venezia, Venice, Italy Fondazione Cini, Venice, Italy Palazzo Montecitorio, Rome, Italy Museo Diocesano d’Arte Sacra di Sant’Apollonia, Italy Museo Casal Slleric, Palma de Mallorca, Spain Mjellby Konstgard Museum, Halmstad, Sweden Venetiaanse Graanderijen, Ostende, Belgium Museu de Castellon, Castellon de la Plana, Spain Galerie Nichido, Tokyo, Japan Guangdong Museum of Art, China.
The Berengo Studio collection is permanently on display at the galleries in Venice and Murano:
- BERENGO STUDIO, Fondamenta Vetrai, 109/a, I - 30141 Murano, Venice
- BERENGO STUDIO, San Marco 412/413, I - 30124 Venice
- Christine Nilsson, “Venise. Les Vénitiens vous invitent”, Editions Harfang 2011 (France)
- The New York Times Style Magazine http://tmagazine.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/02/15/breaking-the-mold-glasstress-at-the-museum-of-arts-and-design/
- Koen Vanmechelen, "The Cosmopolitan Chicken Project", Ludion Gent, Amsterdam 2003, p. 60
- Financial Times How to spend it http://www.howtospendit.com/#!/articles/3777-van-der-postings-artists-in-glass
- Whitewall Magazine http://www.whitewallmag.com/2009/06/03/venice-biennale-glass-stress/
- Glass Quarterly, No. 124, Fall 2011, p. 35 - 41