Laura De Santillana

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Laura de Santillana (Venezia, 1955-2019) is part of the Venini’s family, founder and owner of the homonymous kiln in Murano from 1921 to 1985. In 1975, the artist moved to New York in order to train under Milton Glaser at the School of Visual Arts and to work at the Vignelli Associates Studio. During the 1970’s and 1980’s she worked for the family factory, which was led by her father Ludovico De Santillana, and later she established the EOS furnace, where she was the artistic director.

Since 1990’s, she has been focused only on her artistic production. As a free-lance artist, she has started collaborating with the main glass-masters in Murano: Lino Tagliapietra, Pino Signoretto and Simone Cenedese with whom she made her first Glass Book in 1999. This was a flat shape born from an event - a too strong crushing of a cylinder – which, from that date onwards, will characterize her most famous works. The books represent her childhood immersed in this type of environment, even thanks to the close relationship with her grandfather Giorgio de Santillana, author and philosopher.

Long and frequent travels are of a great inspiration for her artistic practice: from 1989 she has often been to India; from 1997 she was traveling to Japan. We mention here the Sleeves series that is devoted to this last country beloved by her, and is inspired by the sleeves of the Kimono. She also keeps on working in the USA – for instance, for an art residency program at the Museum of Glass in Takoma in 2009 - where she found out a bubbling cultural atmosphere characterized by the enthusiasm and the collaboration with young glass- masters that would help her to widen the technical limits of the glass material. Recently, she has been spending long periods in Czech Republic. From this experience, a new series of pieces has been born: I Fedeli. These are experimental works, of big dimensions, that play on the relationship between emptiness and full space, about harmony between transparencies and chromatic grains.

In a recent interview, Laura de Santillana explains her practice: “The artwork is like my diary. I love the series, the process for a long, very long time on the same shape, of which I try to deplete all the variations, all the possibilities. My purpose is the negation of the utility, the emancipation of the holder, which for its nature is the blowing glass. This, at the end, contains only itself (like the socks explained by Benjamin). The material is both the goal and the tool at the same time. The gestures are either conceived in the long-term or, suddenly, discovered during the process making. They are the outcome of the case, or even of the mistake: these happen in different moments during the making of the piece inside the kiln, but also during the installation in the space. I love the uniqueness of the artistic product and its reproducibility, a contradiction [...] I love my solitary work at the beginning of a project and, afterwards, being with the masters and the technicians at the workshop. Loneliness and group work”.

In Italy Laura de Santillana is represented by Caterina Tognon Contemporary Glass, Venice.
Her work is part of public and private collections, among which we mention: Glass Museum - Murano, Corning Museum of Glass, Victoria and Albert Museum, Metropolitan Museum of Arts, Saint Louis Museum of Fine Arts, Cooper-Hewitt Museum, Seattle Art Museum, The Museum of Fine Arts Houston, Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, Los Angeles County Museum of Art , mu.dac, Lausanne, Musèe des Arts Dècoratifs, Paris, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

-Laura De Santillana and Venice Glass Week on artribune.