Heller Gallery presents an exhibition by the octogenarian Italian maestro Lino Tagliapietra, who announced his retirement from the furnace last month. The exhibition, on view from October 8-November 6, 2021, focuses on prime examples of new and archived works and honors the unprecedented 75 years Tagliapietra, who just celebrated his 87th birthday, has spent practicing his art. The exhibition is curated by Douglas Heller, one of the leading authorities on contemporary glass.
In addition, Heller Gallery will be screening Lino Tagliapietra: The Making of a Maestro, a one-hour documentary on the history of maestro glass artist, Lino Tagliapietra narrated by the British-American actor Alfredo Molina.
Tagliapietra’s glass forms are firmly based in the 20th century Italian design idiom. His pieces are characterized by bold colors and exuberant patterning, which ranges from murine reminiscent of miniature fireworks displays to the newest lozenge shaped ‘aquilone’ (or kite) murine. They are an embodiment of the artist’s extraordinary and ongoing creative vitality and experimental nature. Each piece is a de-facto encyclopedia of classical Muranese glassmaking techniques, from which Tagliapietra chooses with ease. His vessels radiate vibrant optimism and effortless virtuosity.
Lino Tagliapietra started at the age of twelve as an apprentice in a glass factory on his native island of Murano. He earned the title of maestro vetraio – master glassmaker – at 21 and in the late 1970s set off to pursue the path of a studio artist. After a lifetime of work, and 75 years in the hotshop, the material always remained magical to him.
Arguably the greatest ambassador of Italian glassmaking in the service of art, Tagliapietra has been a most sought-after teacher, collaborator and consultant to artists, architects and designers working with glass worldwide. He broke open the treasure trove of Italian glassblowing techniques and taught them with courage and generosity to generations, changing the world of blown glass forever. Recounting his first experience of teaching in the United States: “The boldness was so new to me … on the one hand, it was a shock—the lack of a cultural base, the absence of traditions. But on the other hand, it was exhilarating—the lack of restraint in the process, the exciting results.”
The recipient of numerous awards, his work is represented in the collections of more than 50 museums internationally including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, USA; the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, UK; the Musée des Arts Decoratifs, Paris, France and numerous other public and private collections worldwide.