Stunning New Exhibit Connects Computer Art to Ancient Glassmaking Tradition

Credit: Vera Molnár, Icône 2020 (detail), 2021, Murano glass and 24K gold leaf, 60 x 60 cm, photo by Cristiano Corte ©, Courtesy New Murano Gallery.

A stunning new exhibition linking computer-made paintings to the ancient tradition of glassmaking is part of a major new quest to document, exhibit and preserve digital art.

Icon 2020 is a sculpture produced as part of a collaboration between curator and art historian Francesca Franco, Hungarian-born artist Vera Molnár and a team of traditional Venetian glassmakers, whose members are descendants of one of the historical families of Murano where the ancient technique of glassmaking was born in 1291.

The exhibition, part of the 59th Venice Biennale, is part of the AHRC-funded project “Documenting Digital Art: Rethinking the Histories and Practices of Documentation in the Museum and Beyond”, which explores how to document, exhibit and preserve the digital. art. It is led by Professor Gabriella Giannachi of the University of Exeter. Francesca Franco is co-investigator of the project.

This is Vera Molnár’s very first glass sculpture in a career that spans more than 80 years. The exhibition explores the process that made this sculpture possible, bringing together preparatory sketches, original plotter drawings and documentation material that reveal the complexities behind the making of Icone 2020, encouraging new thinking about sculpture and the ramifications unimaginable of computer art.

The new work is inspired by Vera Molnár’s first successful computer work created in 1975 (Computer-Icon/2), which in turn stems from a series of computer-plotter drawings made in 1974 (Trapezes).

Vera Molnár, born in 1924 in Hungary, is one of the pioneers of computer and algorithmic arts. In 1968 she started working with computers, where she started creating algorithmic paintings based on simple geometric shapes with geometric themes. Since the 1990s, his work has been featured in major international solo and group exhibitions and is part of the collections of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA NYC), the Victoria & Albert Museum and the Center Pompidou. In 2005, she received the first prize for her entire career “d.velop digital art award [ddaa]”. In 2018, she won the AWARE Outstanding Merit Award (AWARE Prix d’Honneur), an award supported by the French Ministry of Culture which recognizes leading female personalities in the world of culture.

The exhibition, in the New Murano Gallery in Venice, will continue until November 27.

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