The new Contemporary Art + Design Wing is all about light, so it seems only fitting that one of the first guest artists to work in the space is Bertil Vallien, a well-known Swedish artist whose work seems to encapsulate light. Famous for his sandcasting—a process he is largely responsible for developing—Vallien is a well-traveled teacher who has influenced an entire generation of artists working in glass in Europe and abroad.
At 6 p.m. on Monday, April 20, Vallien will present a Behind the Glass lecture in the Museum’s auditorium. As with all Guest Artist lectures, the talk is free and open to the public. Hear him speak about his process and his work to date. The following day, watch him at work in the new Amphitheater Hot Shop from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. He will use found objects from The Studio to demonstrate sandcasting to the public. The cost to watch the demo is included in the price of admission.
Sandcasting is a technique that involves pouring molten glass into a prepared bed of sand to create a form—a technique Vallien pioneered in the 1980s. He has used it to create his well-known sandcast boats. Inspired by Viking boat burials, these large boats address the themes of journey, memory, and time. Elements of archaeology (re-creations of artifacts), water (palette), and states of consciousness, such as suspended animation (the immobilization of objects in glass), are also evident in his work. And, of course, each object’s interior seems to glow when observed, encouraging onlookers to think about glass in a new light.