“THE ETERNAL FURNACE ” by LUCIO BUBACCO
On the occasion of the Venice Glass Week 2022, from September 17th till October 16th, Caffè Florian hosts the exhibition “L’Eterna Fornace” (The Eternal Furnace), by Murano art glass master Lucio Bubacco.
Charon, a gondolier ferrying damned souls through the Venice Lagoon to get to the final destination: the Eternal Furnace.
The Timeless Craftsmanship of Lucio Bubacco: A Legacy of Master Glassmakers in Murano
Bubacco is one of those Murano master glassblowers who were initiated into this world as a boy, which means he has been mastering all techniques for a long time. This allowed him to make glass sculptures that teeter on the impossible, so light that it puzzles the mind how they can resist the affront of time and clumsy human hands.
Today, as always, the artist keeps experimenting new techniques to generate living forces from glass.
Throughout his long career, Lucio Bubacco exhibited his art all around the world. His pieces are part of permanent collections in Europe, the United States, Japan and Central America. Bubacco has received several awards and accolades, as well as being listed in art books and catalogues.
Lucio Bubacco and the technique of lampwork glass
Lampworking is a type of glasswork in which a torch or lamp is used to melt the glass. Once in a molten state, the glass is formed by blowing and shaping with tools and hand movements.
Lampworking is used to create artwork, including objects, beads, scuptures and much more.
It is one of the oldest techniques used for glass working: in Murano, it was already widely practiced in the 14th century. Early lampworking was done in the flame of an oil lamp, with the artist blowing air into the flame through a pipe or using foot-powered bellows.
Still today most of the tecniques and tools used for lampworking are the same used in the past, as well as the coloured glass rods, produced in the furnace.
Aged 14, Lucio Bubacco makes his first open-flame pieces, mostly inspired by Classical art and by the traditional characters of Italian theatre. Some years later, his style acquires a new dimension, and the motion of the human figure becomes the focus of his glass art.
He revolutionized the century-old technique of open-flame glassblowing to amazing results, making him one of the most important and internationally renowned glass artist.
Bubacco’s technical experience and knowledge of the glass’s nature and colour allow him to create inimitable pieces, figures fully hand-shaped, including blown glass and cast pieces.
These pieces of art defy the common notions of glassmaking techniques as decorative, whimsical crafts, but rather, they are the product of detailed elaboration and narrative content taking the form of an art installation.
Bubacco’s masterpieces are made with Murano glass, also called ‘soft glass’ due to its high soda content. It is a very bright material and is ideal for open-flame work.
His large sculptures develop vertically, are worked while hot, and then tempered. They are a one-of-a-kind open-flame pieces, especially given they are made from ‘soft’, high-soda glass rods, and not from tougher Pyrex.
Discover the masterpieces of glassmaster Lucio Bubacco at Caffè Florian’s captivating exhibition
In the Room of Seasons at Caffè Florian Lucio Bubacco presents two art installations.
A triptych showing Charon, a gondolier ferrying damned souls through the Venice Lagoon to get to the final destination, the Eternal Furnace, and an unbelievably beautiful chandelier, with demons blowing glass, reminding us of the hell-like conditions inside a glass furnace in Murano. Furnaces are now under threat by rising natural gas costs, and it takes a lot of gas to make glass. We can only hope the situation will resolve promptly.
Lucio Bubacco can treat glass like an acrobat would, and he is a master in shaping it without breaking it. His art always seems on the verge of coming to life, animating, and dancing Bubacco’s acrobatic compositions dance with angels and devils, nymphs and satyrs: sensually exquisite pieces combine anatomical perfection, inspired by ancient Greek sculpture, with the Byzantine Gothic architectural elements of his hometown of Venice.
Seduction, transformation, figures emerging from a vacuum, themes that echo our mythical past: a modern baroque world, so rich that it almost becomes part of the architecture – an assembly of transparent mobile bodies made of the same substance of dreams.
The exhibition is curated by Stefano Stipitivich, Caffè Florian Art Director.
I was but a boy when I first remember seeing the windows of Caffè Florian, while walking in Piazza San Marco. I used to admire the beauty of the décor inside and loved the music played by the orchestra. I was very curious to take a closer look, but I was so young I would not dare entering.
Years later, I am honoured to show my creations in that gilded hall, which I could only watch from afar as a kid.
My gratitude goes to Caffè Florian, who allowed me to make a once forbidden dream come true.
The Italian Glass Weeks Festival, the Celebration of Glassmaking Art in Venice
Italy is internationally recognised for its excellence in the field of glass, both at an artistic and industrial level. In 2022, the United Nations International Year of Glass, the two most important Italian festivals dedicated to the promotion and enhancement of glass – Vision Milan Glass Week and The Venice Glass Week – are joining forces to present a major new initiative: The Italian Glass Weeks.
The first week of the festival will take place in Milan from 10th to 18th September 2022 and will be dedicated primarily to industrial glass. The second week will take place in Venice from 17th to 25th September 2022, and will be dedicated to artistic glass.
Caffè Florian has been promoting contemporary artistic languages for many years, devoting its Halls to masters whose creative outcomes are the result of a profound exploration and comparison with the ancestral material represented by glass blowing, the alchemical fusion of sand and fire. Many different glass artists and their glass works were hosted inside the Florian: Cristiano Bianchin, Yoichi Ohira, Toots Zinsky, Richard Marquis, Massimo Nordio, Michele Burato, Maria Grazia Rosin, Mario and Antonio Dei Rossi, Silvano Rubino, Fabio Fornasier, Lucio Bubacco, Davide Salvadore.