Laura de Santillana and Alessandro Diaz de Santillana

Installation view © the artists Image 1 of 6
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Laura de Santillana, Untitled, 2015 © the artist Image 2 of 6
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Alessandro Diaz de Santillana, HS–YSP (detail), 2011–15 © the artist Image 3 of 6
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Installation view © the artists Image 4 of 6
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Alessandro Diaz de Santillana, N5, 2013 © the artist Image 5 of 6
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Laura de Santillana, (left) Nero CM Liquid Black (Purple), 2009; (right) Alabaster d, 2013 © the artist Image 6 of 6
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02.05.15 - 06.09.15
Chapel
Venice-based siblings Laura de Santillana and Alessandro Diaz de Santillana are internationally renowned artists and descendants of the Venini glassware dynasty, established by Paolo Venini on the island of Murano in 1921. Throughout summer, they bring their elegant sculptural forms and colourful glass paintings to YSP’s refurbished 18th century chapel.

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Laura de Santillana and Alessandro Diaz de Santillana have been creating impressive, innovative works of art in glass for decades. Separately, they have fine-tuned mutually shared experiences into different and distinctive visual languages. What they have in common is a shared passion for glass: the tradition, the craft and the endless possibilities of creating works from the magical and unpredictable qualities of this medium. The subtleties of texture and colour in their works are heightened in the contemplative spaces and diffuse, natural light of the Chapel.
 
Into this spare and calm space Laura’s pared back forms introduce accents of colour in works such as the dark, inky Nero CM Liquid Black (Purple), with further pieces sited around the altar exploring transparency and the repetition of form. A series of twenty exquisite, small, stylized ‘heads’ by Laura are hand-shaped, solid glass forms; displayed within recessed shelves in the vestry, they are partially hidden to create a dialogue with the fabric and history of the building. 
 
A primary obsession and inspiration for Alessandro is water; this translates to the treatment of the surface in his works, which often have a strong, painterly quality, and recall a sense of looking into deep, reflecting pools. Using a minimal palette, his mirrored pieces range from dark greys and black to silver, including an arc of thirteen individual elements which echo the landscape beyond. The subtle undulations of the surface give an evasive, ephemeral and fluid quality; neither mirror nor image.
 
Within the two artists’ approaches it is easy to draw out a familial conversation about the window as metaphor: while Alessandro holds and returns the gaze, Laura allows it in. 

In association with Fondazione Giorgio Cini, Le Stanze del Vetro and Pentagram Stiftung, Venice.

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We have just returned from a visit to this exhibition and the fluid stretches of glass are very vivid in our minds. The surfaces seem to move and shift even when we were still. I was aware of a sense of deep weight within the pieces as if they went ever deeper into the earth. The shapes created by reflection seemed to be emernating from the very essence of the piece rather than outside.
Diana Rothwell on Laura de Santillana and Alessandro Diaz de Santillana

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