Reborn – part I

Artists: Mieke GROOT, Tomas HILLEBRAND, Xiaoshu LUO, Richard MEITNER, Barbara NANNING, Jens PFEIFER, Tai XIAO, Jia ZHUANG
Opening Date: 2 April 2022
Exhibition Date: 2 April – 30 April 2022

Curated by Jens PFEIFER, Tai XIAO, Selena YANG, exhibition REBORN is a special exchange exhibition in the 2022 UN International Year of Glass. It showcases works from 24 Dutch and international contemporary glass artists from ROG (Rays of Glass) International Art Project. UN International Year of Glass is the year to celebrate the important role that glass has played and will continue to play in society from technical, scientific, economic and cultural perspectives. The purpose of the exhibition Reborn is to explore the rebirth of the ancient material glass, which has undergone thousands of years of artistic inheritance, along with the development of modern technology, and interacts with emerging new media, which is endowed with new power of tradition and artistic innovation possibility. The exhibition will be in 3 phases between April and July 2022. It shows the achievements and directions of glass art education around the world and the influence of culture and tradition on the way an artist perceives and works. Glass is both an ancient material and a brand-new material. The natural form of light, transparency, refraction, reflection, etc., are all unique characters of glass material, which have incomparable advantages over other materials, giving artists a steady stream of inspiration. In this exhibition, we can see the different creativity of artists from all over the world, showing the unique spirit of glass. This is an exhibition without borders, and it also tries to explore the diversified development direction of glass art in the future.


Her works use special materials and craftsmanship, usually with strong colors. These beautiful and vivid works start from a circle and form a variety of dynamic organic forms, the interior of the glass is full of agility. Her sources of inspiration are diverse, including natural crystals, jellyfish, flowers and microorganisms, as well as cultural influences from around the world, such as Monet’s water lilies. Each layer of glass seems to be painted with shades of color and separated from each other. In 2016, Barbara won the German Art Aurea Craft Art Award, and in 2020 she won the Dutch Artist of the Year Award. Her works are collected by 40 top museums worldwide.


The language created by Richard Meitner’s work in experiments with color, form, and material, the work itself conveys a message like words, used to inspire unexpected and interesting new ideas in the audience. At the same time, the information conveyed by the shape, texture, material, and color of art is very indirect. They are more abstract than the expression of words, and thus give different audiences different visual experiences. The artist allows the material of the work to express itself. Concept necessarily means thinking in words, and his work is about activating the viewer’s emotions, memories and very personal associations, rather than leading the viewer to specific ideas. Meitner is in permanent collections in 60 museums, galleries and public spaces around the world. The two pieces are made of fiberglass on the inside and black shattered glass on the outside.


Mieke makes glass objects that are often inspired by the shapes of utility glass. Her designs showed her background as a goldsmith in the decorative use of gold and silver. The sculptures constructed from glass building blocks are typical. Together with Richard Meitner, she was in charge of the glass department of the Rietveld Academy for twenty years. Her work is highly appreciated internationally and is part of well-known collections. In her work she focuses on the creative freedom and the various possibilities that the material offers. Metal is used for a sort Italian tuna fish brand.

Xiaoshu LUO

“Buddha has no form, and form is born from the heart”, the grotto statues have gone through the process from invisible to visible. Originally, it was built to satisfy Buddhists’ practice of visualization, which can be regarded as the materialization of Buddhist spiritual teachings. However, in the passage of time, these grotto statues will eventually disappear and return to dust. Spiritual things evolve, and material things die out. Xiaoshu occasionally find some broken Buddhist statues in these waste piles. They look brilliant in the sunlight. This reminds me of the “imperfect” state of Buddhist grotto statues on the Silk Road. Xiaoshu picked up these incomplete bodies from the glass waste pile and added new glass materials to give them new forms and structures.


Tomas Hillebrand finds inspiration for his work in nature, romantic ideas and the aesthetic lifestyle of oriental culture. The artist’s feeling for materials is unique and sensitive. In his creation, he endows the 3,500-year-old European glass-making art with a contemporary soul. He blows glass in the oldest way in the centuries-old Dutch glass workshop. Then sandblasted, mirrored, mixed iron, silvered, lacquered, to create a whole new piece. Although the damage rate is extremely high, after the experience of water and fire, these works of art seem to have transformed into creatures with souls. In 2013, Thomas won the Van Vlissingen Art Award and traveled to Japan to study lacquer painting and oriental art.


Work Cloud Atlas is a result of Jens’ research in material transparency and transition of information through material and /or through transparency. In this series of works he studies transparency as the commonly used semantic phenomenon in a societal or political context. His aim is to analyze the asserted value of material transparency in making information visible and comprehendible.


In hydrodynamics, water with a free surface is called “dispersion medium”. Jia used this function to simulate the shape of water waves in the computer. Real waves can be described as a superposition of many sinusoidal waves with different wavelengths, amplitudes, initial phases and propagation directions. Each of these components travels with its own phase velocity, in accordance with the dispersion relation. The statistics of such a surface can be described by its power spectrum. As it was free-form surface, it is easy to shape it into an ideal three-dimensional vase-like, which is completed by topological deformation. In the final stage of the design, the designer used a genetic algorithm (AI) to adjust the undulations of the vase in order to make the vase look more natural.


Tai’s exhibition work is based on a theme “Empty boat”. Often, we see others or outside as “Empty boat”. It is written in Zhuangzi Shanmu that if an empty boat collided, we would not attribute the responsibility to that empty boat, nor would we be angry. And if there is someone on the boat, we will attribute the incident to the other party’s responsibility. Without knowing the specific reasons, we will first attribute the responsibility to the other party, so as to burn the anger at the other party, and at the same time allow ourselves to indulge in pain. A subjective, cognition of “empty boat” allows us to relief from worldly anger and pain.