“Sustained Glass”

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Client: Gropius Bau Berlin

Location: Berlin, Germany

Completion date: 2020

Project Team

Artist

Wu Tsang

Commissioning Agency

Gropius Bau Berlin

Fabricator

Frederik Richter

Derix Glasstudios

Overview

“Sustained Glass” was on show at Gropius Bau Berlin between December 2019 and January 2020 as part of artist Wu Tsang’s solo exhibition “There is no nonviolent way to look at somebody”.

The text, acid etched in several layers into hundreds of individual tiles of hand blown antique glass, speaks about the experience of transgender people in American prisons.

Goals

"For Wu Tsang, the site-specific stained glass sculpture Sustained Glass (2019), allows for an aesthetic encounter with opacity, as what is presented is a text that cannot fully be read and a material that is not fully see-through. The act of seeing is understood not as an empirical search for understanding, but as an act infused by mystery, where seeing becomes a devotional field of feeling. The work is also inspired by her direct engagement with the Gropius Bau during her residency in 2018, and a broader continuation of the artist’s exploration of working with light and glass. Taking on the proportions of the building’s large 19th-century windows, the sculpture inverts the tradition of stained glass windows depicting allegorical stories through images. Here, words were etched into the glass using acid, forming an overlapping text that fades in and out of legibility, and it is the materiality itself that adds a layer of allegory. The handcrafted stained glass is luminous and fragile, vulnerable and marked by toxic encounter – a material that neither fully obscures light, nor is fully transparent, providing a poetic reflection upon the tensions between transparency and opacity." Text courtesy of: Gropius Bau Berlin, September 2019