Spazio Nobile Gallery presents The Glass Pine: Blowing with Nature, a solo show by the French artist-designer François Azambourg.
As one of the leaders in contemporary French design, François Azambourg is fascinated by the idea of “light as material”. Since 2007, he has enjoyed pushing materials, tools and craft techniques to the limit. He explores the expressive potential of manufacturing processes and the shaping of materials, whether industrial or handmade, innovative or traditional. As part of this process, he has occasionally conducted research into glassmaking techniques in the workshops of the Centre International d’Art Verrier (CIAV) in Meisenthal in Moselle, France. Based on the principle that points of rupture are points of departure, Azambourg has been making epic experiments that liberate him from the deterministic processes of traditional glass production.
For Spazio Nobile, Azambourg is presenting the sculptural containers Douglas and Brindilles in close collaboration with CIAV Meisenthal. He designed them spontaneously, in the moment and in the dance of the workshop, like a magician suspended on the ladder of his dreaming mind, an inventor at heart. In the world of the CIAV glass workshop, anchored in an ancestral territory marked by an industrial era dating back to the beginning of the 18th century, Azambourg brings back to life the sylvan beauty of slender pines and light twigs.
The Douglas vase, for example, born of a mould that burns during production, is a perfect illustration. This now iconic object, available in different formats, colours and shapes, bears the scars of its wood matrix in its flesh: sinuous veins, twisted knots and tiny crevices. In the same vein, the vase Brindilles, freezes forever in the blown glass the delicate imprints of elements drawn directly from the surrounding nature (foliage, twigs and other fir thorns…). This approach, while not specifically academic, is so innovative that it gives the work created a unique and non-duplicable character. It is an innovative way of reinventing tradition without betraying it, and of compressing into the modest volume of a domestic object the strength of the landscapes and forests that surround the village of Meisenthal.
Celebrating the grandeur of a landscape blossoming between the Rhine and Moselle, on the borders of Alsace and Lorraine, the designer becomes the artist and conductor of a hypnotic choreography. The gaze is lost in the incredible dance of glass blowing: the ball of fire hugs, crackles and consumes the evergreen foliage of this coniferous tree, whose branches are prepared with great care by the artist, who collected them a few hours earlier in the Lemberg or Saint-Louis forest.
Moulded or cast in an artistic gesture, the Douglas fir becomes once again the textured bark of a trunk reaching for the sky, a fragile presence, coloured or silvered, sometimes deformed, or premature. The elegant twigs of a branch are encapsulated in the material or leave their light and indelible trace on the transparent surface of the Brindille vase. Containers and contents merge in the clarity of the undergrowth, the trace of nature becomes the receptacle of our own culture, the form emerges as the symbolic value of a subject – the pine, the resin tree, the sap tree, the essence of the Vosges, the conifer with resistant foliage, the needle tree – which becomes the object of all our desires.