The ANU School of Art’s Glass Workshop has come full circle with two exhibitions currently underway in Germany, the country of the workshop founder, Klaus Moje.
Both exhibitions feature Klaus and art made using kiln formed glass and cold work techniques he pioneered in the 1970s. Originally from Hamburg, Klaus brought these techniques to Canberra in 1982 when he was invited by the ANU to establish a Glass Workshop.
Klaus is co-headlining with current workshop Head, Associate Professor Richard Whiteley, in an exhibition titled ‘Distant Reflections’. The exhibition represents not only a partnership between two masters of the form; Richard was one of Klaus’ first students.
“The exhibition at the Australian Embassy in Berlin was a wonderful opportunity to see the growth of glass as a critical art form within Australia,” Richard said.
“There were three generations of artists from Klaus, then myself, through to the next generation of emerging artists who had recently graduated from the ANU.”
These five Glass Workshop graduates were Ruth Oliphant, Madeleine Prowd, Marcel Hoogstad Hay, Alexandra Frasersmith and Charles Walker. The latter three won Endeavour Scholarships in 2014 to fund their Berlin visit. Their works, along with pieces by Klaus and Richard, feature in the exhibition ‘COLLABORATIVE ENDEAVOUR: contemporary glass from Canberra-Berlin’.
‘COLLABORATIVE ENDEAVOUR’ celebrates a two-year cooperation between the Glass Workshop and the Berlin Glas e.V., a non-profit association which is exhibiting the pieces. Fittingly, the pieces displayed are a mix of ones created in Canberra and Berlin.
The collaboration began in 2013 when Nadania Idriss, Founder and Executive Director of Berlin Glas e.V., took Richard’s class at the Pilchuck Glass School, Seattle, USA. When Nadania returned to Germany, she secured Klaus’ agreement to be the central figure of the collaboration
“In short, the idea behind the residency is not only to provide an experience for ANU-SOA graduates, but to develop cross-cultural relations and bring back to Germany what Klaus took to Australia,” Nadania explains.
Bullseye Glass Co. has been a strong supporter of this Canberra-Berlin collaboration, particularly through major donations of glass and other materials. Their history with Klaus goes back more than 30 years, when they successfully developing the glass that enabled Klaus to fully realise his kiln-formed glass methods.
While ‘COLLABORATIVE ENDEAVOUR’ marks the start of a formal exchange of art and artists between the ANU Glass Workshop and Berlin Glas, Nadania says this collaboration is set to continue. Three Glass Workshop graduates have already been selected to be future residents at Berlin Glas.
“I envision our exchange to maintain the same momentum in subsequent years,” Nadania says. “Berlin Glas e.V. will be an ANU-School of Art graduate’s atelier for three to four months each year.”