TITLE: Monday Muse - Lino Tagliapietra
DATE: 1/24/2005 07:45:00 AM
Well, it's about time I start our Monday's with someone other than an American. (Thanks to Sarah for this nudge.) So, today I give you... Lino Tagliapietra. I can't think of a better beginning to open up the world wide gray matter between art and craft.
I have admired Lino's work since the 80's, when he first started focusing his time and talent on studio production pieces, away from commissions and 'product lines'. However, I first truly understood the breadth of his contributions to the contemporary collector's market this past summer, when I found myself amidst a sea of faxes and phone calls to secure tours of his and several other Murano glass masters' studios. You know the value of an artist's work when scheduling a meeting with them becomes like trying to smuggle freedom behind the iron curtain. All this effort for one artist? I had to investigate further.
My discovery is, I'm sure, old news to glass artists who follow this blog. But, I will share it nonetheless. Lino is part of an Italian tradition that effectually defines the word craft. The small island of Murano (where he was born, raised, and trained) has passed glass from hand to hand for centuries. Murano doesn' casually look on glass, they respect it as a way of life. It is what wine is to the French. Having understood that, you can imagine how challenging it must have been to take a respected craft, bring it to the world, and successfuly engage people in considering it to be a fresh art form.
Of course, glass is always fresh because it's always changing. Colors change by sunlight. Fragility is tested hourly by happenstance, construction, and gravity. Maleable on the end of a torch, there is no cookie cutter allowance for making the same thing the same way, on each attempt. Working with glass is really an exercise in taming fire. But these physical changes don't mean the majority of the artworld looked on the medium as a material of possibility. Remember? In the 80's video and experimental materials ruled the art reviews.
Lino truly had a headstart in getting to world to see the possibilities in glass. He began studying the medium at age 11. Perhaps this alone made him stretch the boundaries. But, at a certain point he had to do more than build his resume and his name. And, in my estimation, he has pushed that envelope. Glass is a respected artform today, rather than just a skilled craft. This is by virtue of more hands than just Dale Chihuly's or the thousands of smaller studio glass artists around the world. Lino is undoubtedly one of the fathers who fueled that growth.
So, follow the links above. And, please, enjoy your Monday!