'Crisaliforme', by Cristiano Bianchin, 2004
Cristiano Bianchin is one of the most poetic and exciting artists at work in Venice today. Trained as a painter at the Venetian Accademia in the late 1980s, he started working with glass 1992.
Cristiano Bianchin is not so much a traditional glass maker, as a sculptor who often combines glass with other media such as knitted hemp, metal or wood.
Bianchin starts the creative process drawing, or making a model in clay. Working closely with Venetian craftsmen, he then realises his pieces in glass. After the shape is blown, the entire surface is polished to give it a smooth, slightly irregular, matte appearance. Finally, other materials are added, in this case a turned elm wood stand.
Bianchin often conceives his works in series that explore a theme in a string of related artefacts. The human form and the human condition are recurring subjects.
'Crisaliforme' comprises a series of unique sculptural shapes recalling the highly stylised, ritualistic representations of the human form found in ancient effigies or idols. They are austere and classical in inspiration, but they also have a poetic, enigmatic quality. They conjure up wide-ranging associations - from the painted figures on ancient Greek vases to the totem sculptures of Brancusi or perhaps the tools of some long forgotten craft.
The V&A's 'Crisaliforme' was one of the finalists at the 2004 Bombay Sapphire Foundation Glass Prize.