Berengo Studio is delighted to have assisted the creation and installation of Chiara Dynys’s new exhibition, Sudden Time, at Villa Panza in Northern Italy. For this latest display, as with so much of Dynys’s work, light is celebrated as a true protagonist. The new exhibition is curated by Anna Bernardini and Giorgio Verzotti and sees works by the Mantuan artist displayed together with the works of contemporary artist Sean Shanahan, from the 19th of May 2021. Described by the artist as “a journey through light,” the show provides a setting wherein light is examined as a place unto itself, a space with which to engage and, ultimately, to inhabit.
In the words of Count Panza himself Dynys is a masterful artist of light, capable “of transporting the spectator into another dimension made up of matter that is not matter but the substance of all things”, and thus linking her works to the spirit that animates the entire collection of the famed centre for contemporary art.
Spread across the interior and exteriors of the impressive historical setting, Dynys first presents her installation Camini delle Fate (Fairy Chimneys) in the Scuderia Piccola, the small stable. This display consists of an impressive 34 pieces of cast glass in different colours and proportions, each with a 24-carat gold leaf at its centre that marks the hypothetical “luminous” opening of each perspective form. These shapes are then set in a large opaque black structure ten metres long and more than three metres high, a technique which creates a phenomenal immersive experience through which the audience enters into the artwork itself, with glass lighting the way as the central guiding sign within the installation.
Inside the second coach house, we encounter another glass sculpture, this time an opalescent door that appears to be suspended in the air. 60 cm high and 48 cm wide, the work is illuminated by lights of varying colours that seem to radiate from its centre. Based on a model conceived by the artist in 1993 – from an exhibition at the Saint-Etienne Museum – this new reinvention of the form appears to almost absorb the colours of the lights around it.
In the third and final coach house a new light installation titled Melancholia is projected, defined by the image of a luminous circle that slowly changes colour and is overlaid by an opaque black circle, a vision not dissimilar to a surreal eclipse.
Yet this exhibition is not limited to interior spaces, if anything it welcomed the challenge of embracing the spacious grounds of the Villa to incorporate external sculptures and the Studio was delighted to collaborate on a large scale glass sculpture that now sits in the luscious grounds of the 18th century Villa. In a development from her artwork Englightning Books Dynys once again takes on the subject of a quotidian object, that of the door, and uses this framework to subvert her audience’s expectation to dramatic effect. The sculpture, titled Giuseppe’s Door, was conceived by Dynys and created in Berengo Studio. With difficult dimensions the artwork posed a challenge for our master craftsmen, but one that they took on with relish. Using a metal framework the architecture of the door was able to support large sheets of uniquely finished Murano glass, setting them up to establish a spectacular visual display.
After a gruelling set up in the magnificent garden of Villa Panza Giuseppe’s Door now rises from the earth. Standing at three metres high the rusted colour of the sculpture’s metal frame blends with the earthy tones of tree bark and soil, while the glass panels themselves have been treated with a special gradient of fluorescent glass dust. Glass powder is fused to the glass panes in a wash of aquamarine blue green, drawing from and complimenting the natural environment in which they are situated.
Illuminated as if from its core, this incredible effect is achieved through the use of photosensitive glass which holds the capacity to load light during the day, by absorbing UV rays from the sun’s light. This process essentially ‘charges’ the artwork during the day, ensuring that when the sun finally sets the artwork’s coloured surface emits its own surreal neon light into the dark, illuminating the grounds of the famous centre of contemporary art on the Biumo hill in Varese.
A liminal space, a portal which presents a point of possibility, a choice, a moment of decision. A door can mean many things, most of all it presents an opportunity. The revolutionary work of Chiara Dynys once again takes new forms at a time of change, as the artist takes the potent symbolism of the door’s architecture as a means of discovery, harnessing its ability to express a desire to reach beyond the known and captures it in unique coloured glass.
For more information and updates on the exhibition follow us on Instagram at @berengostudio and @fondazioneberengo .