Taller Longer Crumpled is an exhibition of sumptuous abstract glasswork at one of the last remaining local galleries Themes & Variations, which since its 1984 opening in Notting Hill has been recognised as a leading specialist in Post-war and Contemporary Design. The current show is of vibrant and sparkling glass sculptures by Toots Zynsky, an American artist, who is represented in over 70 international museums, yet this was her first show here in London.
The gallery has paid a great deal of attention to the presentation of the work. The black and grey Fornasetti wallpaper (another one of the gallery’s specialties) was put up especially for the show, creating a seductive bedroom atmosphere, which cleverly complimented the alluring glistening silky textures of the glass, and their feminine crumpled organic forms. Forms reminiscent of colourful exotic sub-aqueous flora swaying gracefully under a heavy body of water. It seemed that if only listened to carefully enough, a soft murmur of waves would be heard coming out of the vessels’ sugar coated lips, as if out of a conch. This is no coincidence, Zynsky’s inspiration for her work is sound and music: “When I hear music, it translates into colour.”
Zynsky was one of the pioneering artists, studying with Dale Chihuli, who has propelled glassmaking from a mere utilitarian craft into a worldwide art phenomenon. Zynsky invented the “filet de verre” technique, the secret behind the mysteriously shimmering and almost tactile quality of her sculptures. Thousands of multicolored glass threads are fused together in a kiln, and while still hot, the fused thread disk is then shaped using natural gravity and artist’s own (heat-resistant gloved) hands into those distinctive undulating forms. The exhibition is a rare eye candy, a treat not to be missed. At Themes & Variations, Westbourne Grove until 5th of December. themesandvariations