Baldwin and Guggisberg glass creations, Amphore Métaphore - Photos by Alex Ramsay
Musée du Verre de Conches will host the new solo exhibition by Philip Baldwin (b. 1947, New York) and Monica Guggisberg (b. 1955, Bern, Switzerland), who are among the foremost international artists working in glass.
Baldwin & Guggisberg are renowned for their mastery of battuto, an Italian technique involving cutting the glass's surface layers to reveal colored layers beneath.
The exhibition marks the official reopening of Conches' newly expanded glass museum. Initially founded by the town of Conches in 1996 to conserve a rare set of pâte-de-verre stained glass windows by François Décorchemont (1880- 1971). The museum has since expanded to include different types of glass art ranging from the late 19th century to the beginning of the 21st.
Baldwin and Guggisberg's beautiful studio in the hills of mid Wales built in the style of an old Dutch barn
In June this year, following a three-year building project, the museum will move to Conches' former hospital building. It has been completely renovated to create a permanent home for the museum's collection of glass art, stained glass, and contemporary sculpture and provide space for exhibitions by influential contemporary master glass artists.
The Amphore Métaphore nine installations at the Musée du Verre of Conches will explore the artists' ongoing fascination with the amphora and its history. They reveal not just Monica and Philip's sense of awe at the vessel's beauty – together with its perfect marriage of form and function – but also a provenance far more ancient than they had previously imagined.
On the left and center: Baldwin and Guggisberg glass creations, Amphore Métaphore - Photos by Alex Ramsay / On the right: Harappan-civilisation amphora dating to c2500 BCE, one of the inspiration points for the exhibition
Their journey takes us back an astonishing 20,000 years, during which they ask us to reflect on the fact that this simple jar with its gentle curves and characteristic pointed bottom appears to be a form so innate to humans that it recurs again and again across millennia and different cultures, from China to India and Siberia to the Levant.
Monica and Philip said: "Until we started our research for this show, the only amphorae we knew were the iconic ones we find in classical civilizations: Crete, Phoenicia, Greece, Rome. The earliest ones known to date were discovered in Xianrendong cave in China and take us back into the last ice age (c18,900-17,000 BCE). Made by people who were hunter-gatherers, they dispelled myths that early peoples did not make pots and that settled agriculture was the beginning of civilization. We tend to look at the past as abrupt and isolated innovations. Still, it's important to acknowledge that breakthroughs in early societies were based on a collective body of knowledge accumulated and shared over hundreds and thousands of years."
Baldwin and Guggisberg wall installation, 2022
2022 is the UN-designated year of glass, and it's also a special occasion for Monica and Philip, who celebrate forty years since the opening of their first studio together in Nonfoux, Switzerland.
Fp Art Online is proud to count among its artists this duo who have distinguished themselves over the years for glassmaking. The glass factory is an integral part of the international artistic tradition and has evolved, merging with experiences and results from worldwide.
As stated by Baldwin and Guggisberg: "Unless we acknowledge what's gone before, how can we go forward? No past? No future. Remembering gives us the freedom to move forward."