The incredible lightness of Dale Chihuly – A show by the unique American glass-artist opens in London


A new exhibition by glass-artist Dale Chihuly has opened at Halcyon Gallery, London. Dale Chihuly: Beyond the Object sees the American artist respond to the interior architecture of the building – in which he transforms the New Bond Street gallery space with his distinctive hand-blown glass sculptures.

Visitors who enter the gallery will walk beneath the Persian Pergola Ceiling – an immersive canopy of colour, form and light. This is the first time Chihuly has created a Persian Pergola Ceiling for a gallery setting.

Dale Chihuly, Cerulean Cobalt Chandelier (detail), 2013Dale Chihuly, Cerulean Cobalt Chandelier (detail), 2013

Furthering the encounter between artworks and space, three of the six new chandeliers created for this exhibition are suspended over ground installations.  The Cranberry Spire Chandelier and Amethyst Icicle Tower create a striking negative space between their pointed forms, the Aero Blue Chandelier will entwine with Cerise Pink Reeds and the Citron Chandelier willmerge into Lime Green Fiori.

The show at the Halcyon Gallery will be the first time the artist has displayed neon artworks in the UK with hsi 2013 Sapphire Neon Tumbleweeds representing Chihuly’s continued interest in using neon in his artworks.

Dale Chihuly, Persian Ceiling, 1999 Dale Chihuly, Persian Ceiling, 1999

The new wall-mounted Fiori artworks also see the artist further his experimentation with form and colour; with each individual installation will reflect a different combination. These are the latest and more minimalist expressions of Chihuly’s Fiori series, which first appeared asMille Fiori (Italian for a thousand flowers).

Dale Chihuly, Amber Jade Herons, 2013Dale Chihuly, Amber Jade Herons, 2013

Chihuly was born 1941 in Tacoma, Washington, and was introduced to glass while studying interior design at the University of Washington. After graduating, he enrolled in the first glass program in the country, at the University of Wisconsin continuing his studies at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), where he later established the glass program and taught for more than a decade.

Dale Chihuly. Photograph:  Justin van VlietDale Chihuly. Photograph: Justin van Vliet

In 1968, he went to work at the Venini glass factory in Venice on a Fulbright scholarship. There he observed the team approach to blowing glass, which is critical to the way he works today. In 1971, Chihuly cofounded Pilchuck Glass School in Washington State. With this international glass centre, Chihuly is regarded as a pioneer in the development of glass as a fine art.

Dale Chihuly. Photograph:  Justin van VlietDale Chihuly. Photograph: Justin van Vliet

Chihuly’s work is included in more than 200 hundred museum collections around the world. He has also been the recipient of many awards, including 12 honorary doctorates and two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Dale Chihuly. Photograph: Justin van VlietDale Chihuly. Photograph: Justin van Vliet

Other artworks on view at the Halycon Gallery include Fire Orange Baskets, Macchia and Drawings. Sir Paul Smith has written the introduction to the exhibition catalogue, which will be available from the gallery.

by Caroline Simpson

Portraits of Dale Chihuly by Justin van Vliet

Dale Chihuly: Beyond the Object is on at Halcyon Gallery 144–146 New Bond Street
London W1S 2PF

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