Fred Wilson

Glass Works 2009 – 2018

Mar 10–May 16, 2020

Pace Gallery is pleased to present Fred Wilson: Glass Works 2009 – 2018, a small survey of the artist’s celebrated glass sculptures at Itaewon-ro 262, Yongsan-gu, Seoul.

Exhibition Details

Fred Wilson
Glass Works 2009 – 2018
Mar 10 – May 16, 2020


Itaewon-ro 262



Above: Installation view, Fred Wilson: Glass Works 2009-2018, March 10 - May 16, 2020, Pace Gallery, Seoul © Fred Wilson

Fred Wilson, Untitled (Akua'ba), 2010, cast and blown glass, 88" x 43" x 14-1/2" (223.5 cm x 109.2 cm x 36.8 cm), overall installed © Fred Wilson

Pace Gallery is pleased to present Fred Wilson’s solo exhibition in Korea with a small survey of the artist’s celebrated glass sculptures. Wilson’s use of glass has become a unifying element of his career ever since he first began to explore the possibilities of the medium nearly twenty years ago. Spanning over a decade of work, this exhibition will include his black-glass drips, ornate black mirrors, and Rezzonico-style chandeliers.

Since 2001, Wilson has worked alongside prominent American glass blower Dante Marioni with whom he first explored the possibilities of black-colored glass. During this time, Wilson produced his first black glass drips. The reflective surface of the blown glass and the teardrop-like forms suggest liquids such as ink, oil, blood and tar, and are blown from red glass so dense that it appears black. Wilson has continued to make drip works including Untitled (Akua'ba) (2010), a multi-piece installation topped with a black-glass sculpture cast from a traditional ritual fertility doll of the Asante people in Ghana. The glass doll extends from the wall looking down on a series of black drips that appear to cascade towards the floor—a nod to the fecundity associated with the African doll and the spread of the notion of the “Global African.” As Wilson explains, “Since the late 20th century the concept of the color black has shifted. Africans and those of the African Diaspora have embodied the color and flipped the negative meaning on its head and now view it as a powerful symbol of solidarity, born of our shared history and culture. My works in black are a mixture of positive affirmation, with a clear-eyed understanding of the racist tropes of the past.”

Wilson has also explored more complex representations and sculptures. For his exhibition Speak of Me as I Am (2003) for the United States Pavilion at the 50th Biennale di Venezia, Wilson commissioned artisans on the island of Murano to produce a large-scale chandelier in an eighteenth-century Venetian Rezzonico style. Murano has been the epicenter of Venetian glassmaking since the 13th century. Titled Chandelier Mori (2003), Wilson’s sculpture marked the first time in the history of Venetian glassmaking that a Murano chandelier was made in black glass. Over the ensuing seventeen years, he has created additional chandeliers and a variety of black Murano glass mirrors that build on his examination of objects, their public uses, and material histories. “The works I create are in turn affected not only by my shifting ideas from place to place,” he writes, “but also by my ongoing interest in Minimalism and Conceptualism, social issues, notions of race, and psychological states of alienation and denial.”


Fred Wilson, I Saw Othello's Visage in His Mind, 2013, Murano glass, paint, and wood, 64" x 51-1/2" x 7" (162.6 cm x 130.8 cm) © Fred Wilson

Since his Venice installation, Wilson has found inspiration in Shakespeare’s Venetian tragedy Othello. Spoken lines, characters, and stage directions are used as titles, or quoted within works, and express, through fragmentation, historic representations of blackness, notions of loss, the realities of erasure, and the politics of power. Works included in this exhibition—such as I Saw Othello's Visage in His Mind (2013)—exemplify the artist’s ongoing engagement with the decorative arts and the themes of Othello in large-scale mirror. The black mirrors are comprised of highly detailed black Murano glass often in layers, with the mirrors’ verso painted black. This creates a phantom-like reflection that prompts consideration of blackness—and so the complexities of representation and identity—in the viewer as their likeness is blackened upon reflection. The theme of Othello continues with Wilson’s most recent chandelier A Moth of Peace (2018), the title pulling from a line in which Desdemona refers to herself as a “moth of peace” left alone when Othello is sent off to war. This sense of lightness marked with elements of melancholy is reflected in the physical qualities of the chandelier, which is made of clear and milky white glass punctuated with contrasting black elements and decorated with traditional flower and leaf shapes.

My works in black are a mixture of positive affirmation, with a clear-eyed understanding of the racist tropes of the past.

Fred Wilson


Fred Wilson

Fred Wilson is renowned for his interdisciplinary practice that challenges assumptions of history, culture, race, and conventions of display.By reframing objects and cultural symbols, he alters traditional interpretations, encouraging viewers to reconsider social and historical narratives. Wilson’s early work was directed at marginalized histories, exploring how models of categorization, collecting, and display exemplify fraught ideologies and power relations inscribed into the fabric of institutions.

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Seoul — Fred Wilson, Glass Works 2009 – 2018, Mar 10–May 16, 2020