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Seeing through Vanessa Mitrani

By Christopher Jury Morgan

Vanessa Mitrani is far from your average artisan; she does not practice her craft of glassblowing, as much as reinvent it. Since she graduated from Paris’ prestigious ENSAD in 1998 she has pioneered numerous innovations in technique and process, with each of her collections being the pinnacle of her explorations. Glassblowing is an art with a long and illustrious history, with innovations over millennia revolutionizing life from imperial courts to neighborhood bars. Mitrani draws upon this rich heritage, melding age-old techniques with her unique practices to create stunning contemporary pieces which blur the lines between fine art, design and decor.

 

In recent years, Mitrani’s work has developed to incorporate diverse materials, from leather to iron, in ingenious and imaginative ways. In her most recent Gravity Collection, these material pairings range from the complimentary to the contradictory; the balance and poise of her brass and glass tumblers stand in stark contrast to the entropic, organic beauty of her glass and mesh vases. It is the latter which perhaps encapsulates Mitrani’s art best of all: rigid, architectural metal frames wind around organic bodies of bulging glass, holding them in improbable embraces which defy reason and logic. Each piece is a snapshot in a process of dissolution; glass kept within the binds of looping metal not by force but by a freezing of time. It is this aspect of her work – the implicit invitation to look, look and look again – which sets Mitrani apart as a creator and a craftsperson.

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