Laura de Santillana | Moon. : From Kyoto to New York
In last autumn’s exhibition in Kyoto, Laura’s work was displayed together with kimonos and obi sashes in a traditional Japanese building, where it harmonized beautifully with the tatami matsand painted folding screens.
Despite being glass, the light that passes through it is softened, as if it had passed through shōji screens.
Her aesthetics are more Japanese than the Japanese themselves, her works unassuming and subtle.
They allow us to realize that the moon seen from Venice and the moon seen from Kyoto are one and the same.
Ippodo Gallery New York is pleased to present the solo exhibition of works by Laura de Santillana, previously exhibited in the 2018 joint exhibition, Moon: Tsuki wo Koso,,, in Kyoto with the dyeing/weaving of tenth generation obi merchant and purveyor, Genbey Yamaguchi. Born in Venice, de Santillana is a renowned contemporary artist working in glass.
For the Moon exhibit, de Santillana conceived a series of small format tablets in which metal leaf is incorporated or applied to the surface, suggesting the perception of the moon in a night sky. Within strict geometric forms exist dreamy worlds of jewel tones, shimmering hues, and translucent glass in a color range of deep blues, blue greys and silvery greys.
The works can be painterly, as if the color was applied to a canvas, but they also have a depth to them that can only be achieved through three-dimensional forms. Her pieces are a meeting of power and tenderness, and the result is an amazing visual effect that is at once both simple yet highly complex.
“The glass tablets are envelopes in which the light lives and refracts; there is the surface work, a skin. This light that is incorporated in the object becomes the body of the object. Light is not outside, it’s inside, a liquid frame between the inside and the outside.” - Laura de Santillana
Her works, like the tablet-shaped series called Tokyo-ga, defies convention within the world of glass art. In her process, de Santillana creates pared down forms in straightforward combinations of colors that emit a singularly unique light.
“Most of all, de Santillana creates extraordinary effects of gradual change, of tentativeness, of subtlety... Even within the color blocks—especially the gold and silver leaf—hue is gently mottled to the degree that it seems less like a surface than like a view into water or fog… It is never just one thing, but a gathering of imaginative possibilities.” - Janet Koplos
Distinctive in this exhibition are her ‘bamboo’ pieces, produced in the Czech Republic. Tall and slender in a mesmerizing shade of emerald, they seem to almost move - as if they could be swayed by a gentle wind. Bamboo has played an important role in Japanese culture since earliest times. Its elegant form and straight, hollow, green stems reaching up into the skies symbolize purity and good fortune. Bamboo possesses a strange spiritual and magical power that leads us all towards the heavens.
De Santillana studied at the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan. She has exhibited throughout Japan (including Ippodo Gallery Tokyo) as well as in Europe, the United States, and Israel, her works can be found in numerous major museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York), the Victoria & Albert Museum (London), and the Musée des Arts Décoratifs (Paris).