Map X, 1995

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Over the past few decades, Bertil Vallien has dedicated himself to advancing the manipulation of glass as an artistic medium, turning particularly to the use of sandcasting, a technique which was originally developed for industrial purposes, such as metal casting. Originally trained in ceramics, he became fascinated with the light-absorbing properties of glass in the 1960's and 1970's, creating works of varied form and technique, which he infused with metaphysical and pre-historical motifs.

In the 1990s, Vallien began to focus on simplifying the form of his creations and "taming" the natural translucency of his glass. He has continued to create works which allude to the abstract and transcendental, calling for reflection, particularly through the inclusion of human faces. Map X bears this same metaphorical and thought-provoking quality: large hands loom in the foreground, near the figure profiled behind the central "Y." Many small, mask-like faces crowd the bottom, mouths agape with fear. As Vallien refers to this work as a "map," the allusions to abuse of power and to human suffering seem to refer to the state of humanity, or of the world, as a whole.

Map X
Artist Life
born 1938
Accession Number
Curator Approved

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