Maria Sparre-Petersen: An eternal cycle of glass

af | 20. mar, 2022 | ENGLISH

Matter at Hand, Maria Sparre-Petersen. Foto: Dorte Krogh

Matter at Hand

Matter at Hand – Ten Artist in Denmark is an exhibition created in collaboration with the Danish Art Foundation and the American gallery Hostler Burrows. The exhibition opened in New York in Autumn 2021 and is now showing in L.A, the gallery’s second location.

Matter at Hand is also a catalogue with ten condensed portraits by me, among other texts. I have been given the permission to publish the portraits on my platform. The ten artists are:

Anne Brandhøj
Stine Bidstrup
Astrid Krogh
Jakob Jørgensen
Bjørn Friborg
Hanne G
Maria Sparre-Petersen
Martin Bodilsen Kaldahl
Pernille Pontoppidan Pedersen
Yuki Ferdinandsen

The team behind the co-lab is:
The Danish Art Foundation
Hostler Burrows; Juliet Burrows and Kim Hostler
Curator: Nanna Balslev Strøyer
Photographer Dorte Krogh
Writer: Charlotte Jul
Translation: Dorte Herholdt Silver
Graphic design: Laura Silke og Line-Gry Hørup
Co-editor, US-translation: Juliet Burrows

www.hostlerburrows

Glass blower and artist Maria Sparre-Petersen is one of the Danish artists in the exhibition Matter at Hand – Ten Artists in Denmark, showing at the American gallery Hostler Burrows with locations in L.A. and New York.

Maria Sparre-Petersen makes sculptures from recycled container glass, a material that has all the poetic qualities of virgin glass but is much kinder to the planet. She is fascinated by the plasticity and uncertainty of this hybrid material, which is rarely used by studio glassmakers.

Sparre-Petersen melts containers in a furnace and then shapes the molten glass into balls, which appear like spherical drops of childhood mystique; she then  composes these balls into a pattern which is fused in a frame of high-fired concrete. When heated, each sphere develops a membrane that remains visible as the balls fuse in the kiln, becoming of one piece but appearing distinct, like soap bubbles adhering to each other. An artistic chaos in an ordered array, or graphic elements of liquid mass in a structured frame. Form, pattern, color and light enter into a dialogue and create new stories. In some places, the glass appears matte or translucent – depending on how the light refracts in the material and its depth of the color.

Matter at Hand, Maria Sparre-Petersen. Foto: Dorte Krogh

Sustainability is a lifelong passion that Sparre-Petersen pursues with an experimental and socially oriented outlook. She includes the titles of sailor, designer, teacher, Master of Fine Arts and PhD on her CV. Together, these diverse skills paint a straight line to the practice that motivates and inspires Sparre-Petersen today: to spread awareness of recycled glass from a sustainable and ethical perspective. It is a crucial and deeply meaningful ambition, not least because it leaves the virgin materials in the ground, where they belong, and avoids exposing the maker to hazardous substances. Furthermore, used glass can be recycled infinitely without losing its material qualities – a capacity that textile, plastic and many other materials lack.

The particular material qualities of recycled container glass make for an interesting process. The recycled glass has to be handled differently because it is “shorter” when it is blown, so the glassmaker has to work faster. With this technique it is not always possible to fuse two used window panes because they may be made from different recipes, which means they do not expand in the same way and therefore develop stress that will cause cracks – immediately or over time. Hence, recycling container glass requires a high level of craftsmanship and technique. And though the challenges of working with recycled materials are greater, so is the satisfaction of cracking the code and knowing that one is making a difference for the planet. Sparre-Petersen is continuously challenged by the specific qualities of the material, which throws up obstacles that she can resolve and also take advantage of.

According to Sparre-Petersen, this only makes her conversation with the glass more intriguing. The material talks back and sometimes strands the artist on thin ice. This provides new insights, which lead to new methods and techniques that she then can develop and incorporate. Her many studies and experiments have given rise to an aesthetic vocabulary that she could not have arrived at through strategic planning. This is part of the alchemy, when material and idea come together in unpredictable constellations, often rife with contrasts. Like organic playmates in a framework that is only semi-controlled and does not allow for anticipating or planning colors, density, transparency or translucency. The glass artist has to surrender to the will of the material, regardless of experience and technique, which is a beautiful part of the process – a sustainable process that holds good news for a planet under pressure.

Matter at Hand, Maria Sparre-Petersen. Foto: Dorte Krogh

Matter at Hand

Matter at Hand – Ten Artist in Denmark is an exhibition created in collaboration with the Danish Art Foundation and the American gallery Hostler Burrows. The exhibition opened in New York in Autumn 2021 and is now showing in L.A, the gallery’s second location. Matter at Hand is also a catalogue with ten condensed portraits by me, among other texts. I have been given the permission to publish the portraits on my platform. The ten artists are:

Anne Brandhøj
Stine Bidstrup
Astrid Krogh
Jakob Jørgensen
Bjørn Friborg
Hanne G
Maria Sparre-Petersen
Martin Bodilsen Kaldahl
Pernille Pontoppidan Pedersen
Yuki Ferdinandsen

The team behind the co-lab is:
The Danish Art Foundation
Hostler Burrows; Juliet Burrows and Kim Hostler
Curator: Nanna Balslev Strøyer
Photographer Dorte Krogh
Writer: Charlotte Jul
Translation: Dorte Herholdt Silver
Graphic design: Laura Silke og Line-Gry Hørup
Co-editor, US-translation: Juliet Burrows

www.hostlerburrows

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