The Glass Delusion at The National Glass Centre Sunderland (NGC)


The Glass Delusion An enjoyable mixed media exhibition investigating such themes as self and cognition. The exhibition guide explains that ‘The Glass Delusion’ was a form of depression where the sufferer imagined themselves to be made of glass. The idea of this illness was so terrifying and fascinating it spread through literature and became part of history. The NGC surmises, “The syndrome evokes a psychological separation between reality and imagination, between a strength and a vulnerability that we all experience at times.” The notion that what we think becomes our truth.

My highlights included Vedovamazzei’s ‘Short Sighted Mirror’; Katherine Dowson’s ‘Memory of a Malformation’ and Jorge Macchi’s ‘Vidas Paralelas’.

Vedovamazzei’s (Simeone Crispino and Stella Scala) ‘Short Sighted Mirror’ (2008) Mirror, electrical motor, 40 cm diameter is transfixing as you stare at your reflection and see it judder and tremor. It also changes your perception of colour. A very intriguing contemporary self portrait.

Katherine Downson’s ‘Memory of a Malformation’ (2006) a 3D laser etching of the artist’s cousin’s Venous Arterial Malformation or brain tumour. It’s such a beautiful and amazing object revealing the world of scientific imaging to us but also very emotive and painful because of what it shows us.

Katherine Downson’s ‘Memory of a Malformation’ (2006) a 3D laser etching of the artist's cousin's Venous Arterial Malformation or brain tumour. http://www.katharinedowson.com/

Jorge Macchi’s ‘Vidas paralelas (parallel lives)’(1998) Two sheets of glass 60 x 80 cm each. I explored the two seemingly identical panes of glass in front of me and tried unsuccessfully to conclude which one happened as a result of an act of chance and violence, a hammer hurled at a sheet of glass, and which was the precision cut duplicate.

It’s strange that my three picks are glass works but there was simplicity or clarity to the ideas they wished to express and were beautiful fascinating objects.

Peter. J. Evans’ ‘Matter into matter into matter’ (2007) 62.5 x 45 cm, Graphite on paper was mind blowing and the attempted orderdness contrasted with the supposed randomness of Cristiano Mangione’s ‘Stellar mass sunk digging rhizomatic shift’ (2007), Biro on canvas beautifully. Both drawings achieved beautiful textures that I can’t really compare to anything.

Peter J Evans "Matter into matter into matter" (2007) 62.5 x 45 cm, Graphite on paper. Evan's is represented by the Workplace Gallery http://www.workplacegallery.co.uk

I think the one piece that did not engage me was Celia Baker’s ‘Wool Work 3’ 2007-9, Knitted wool, size variable. When reflecting a couple of things seemed problematic. First was the way the object was displayed hung from a single hook in a wall; this removes all functionality, the NGC’s website talks about the work alluding too. Second the supposed excessiveness of the piece, I don’t think it goes far enough to shock. Maybe one more point could be made if it is about repetitiveness why the variation in colour?

A really great exhibition well worth a visit.

Find out more visit the NGC’s site click here

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2 thoughts on “The Glass Delusion at The National Glass Centre Sunderland (NGC)

    1. elizabethkane says:

      It’s definitely worth a visit… now is a good time to go because the undergraduate Glass and Ceramics show is on too, some of which is outstanding. I wish I’d brought a camera because I think the official online presence is a flashy and takes ages to flick through.

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