Video

Fred Wilson On His Glass Works

An Excerpt from To Die Upon A Kiss: A Statement by Fred Wilson

My chandeliers are sculptures that speak of a historical moment in a culture that is long gone; they elicit a nostalgic desire to regain that moment. Based on eighteenth-century Venetian glass lighting fixtures, they also reveal my desire to recast that era to include those like me, whose ancestors were perceived to not be a part of that moment in time, and thus not allowed to call that age, or that culture, their own. Because of the historical significance of Venetian chandeliers, their seductive design and the fact that they are both exotic and familiar at the same time, these objects work well as a vehicle for me to explore other ideas, unrelated to Venice, which are more complex, or even downright difficult, such as the passage of a human lifetime ...

... I love the Venetian chandelier. I love it because it can be considered opulently beautiful by some or saccharine and vacuous by others. I enjoy using objects of beauty when I can find meaning in them beyond anything they were meant to be. I feel I am pushing myself to make things that have no business being considered high art. A found urinal or a “designed” chandelier, there’s no difference to me. Except that the debased and banal object now has a high art connotation simply because it is installed in a gallery, while the beautiful and functional objects in glass, or clay, are supposed to be for another set of eyes, not the art world’s. But objects are objects; they all have cultural connotations created for a specific “tribe.” The more you understand that tribe the more you can subvert, enlarge, or recreate meaning. Not just for oneself, but for the tribe itself. Of course this is the history of Western art in the modern era. However it has mostly been the notion of rupture, and the blind appropriation of other cultures, that has been used by our European/American tribe to reveal something about itself. For me it is a pleasure to look at the West’s high culture—the traditional and historical kind—to reveal and reinvent it.

Objects are objects; they all have cultural connotations created for a specific 'tribe.' The more you understand that tribe the more you can subvert, enlarge, or recreate meaning.

Fred Wilson

Videos — Fred Wilson On His Glass Works, Apr 29, 2020