Balloon-shaped sculptures reinvent blown glass in Matthew Szösz’s “Inflatables” series — Colossal



Crafts

#glass #inflatable #Matthew Szosz #recycling #sculpture

November 17, 2022

Kate Mothes

“untitled (inflatable) no. 33. » All images © Matthew Szösz, shared with permission

The art of blown glass takes on new meaning at Matthew Szösz Inflatables series. About fifteen years ago, the artist was interested in contested assumptions about how the material could be worked and what form it could take. “In craftsmanship and design, how we make things has a profound effect on what we make,” he told Colossal. “Blown glass and turned pots are round; the houses and the furniture are rectangular. I spend a good part of my time experimenting with processes to try to use a new way of doing things to create new families of objects and shapes. The resulting sculptures capture a playful tension between fragility and strength, ephemeral and durability.

Using salvaged panes or window sheets, Szösz carefully plans the shape of the final form and cuts many pieces that are measured to overlap slightly so that when fused together they create tight joints. The ceramic fiber paper separates the layers to prevent the material from sticking both to the oven and to itself. At 1,600 degrees Fahrenheit, the part is quickly removed from the oven and inflated, like a balloon, with compressed air. The glass is malleable for about a minute at most before cooling to a hard object. “There is very little shaping that can be done during inflation, so the process relies entirely on material preparation,” says Szösz. “Once you take it out to inflate it, what you get is what you get.”

Szösz’s work with glass plates takes many forms, and his sculptures are currently featured in two exhibitions at BWA Wrócław Contemporary Art Galleries, including a solo exhibition titled gold standard, and the collective exhibition Autonomous areas, a collaboration with Pilchuck Glass School. You can follow more of the artist’s work on Instagram and her website.

A blown glass sculpture by Matthew Szösz that looks like an unusual ball.

“untitled (inflatable) no. 95r”

A blown glass sculpture by Matthew Szösz that looks like an unusual balloon.

“untitled (inflatable) no_100bir”

A glass sculpture by Matthew Szösz that looks like an unusual balloon.

“untitled (inflatable) no. 71a »

A blown glass sculpture by Matthew Szösz that looks like an unusual ball.

“untitled (inflatable) no. 93irk”

Blown glass sculptures by Matthew Szösz that look like unusual balloons.

Left: “Untitled (inflatable) no. 87.” Right: “Untitled (inflatable) no. 75g”

A blown glass sculpture by Matthew Szösz that looks like an unusual ball.

“untitled (inflatable) no. 90ir”

A blown glass sculpture by Matthew Szösz that looks like an unusual ball.

“untitled (inflatable) no. 85b”

A blown glass sculpture by Matthew Szösz that looks like an unusual ball.

“untitled (inflatable) no. 91irb”

A blown glass sculpture by Matthew Szösz that looks like an unusual ball.

“” untitled (inflatable) no. 89g”

#glass #inflatable #Matthew Szosz #recycling #sculpture

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