Indian glass artist shines at Cannes

Keralite Hasna Sal’s glass sculpture - Utopia- was shown at the International Contemporary Art Cannes Biennale last week

May 31, 2019 12:56 pm | Updated 12:56 pm IST

A complicated nest of plants and animals wrought in glass with vibrant colours, textures and layers —Utopia — a glass sculpture by Kansas-based Malayali glass artist Hasna Sal was shown at the recently-concluded second edition of the International Contemporary Art Cannes Biennale organised from MAMAG Modern Art Museum during the Cannes Film Festival. The show is curated with a focus on contemporary art . Hasna Sal’s oeuvre includes sculptures, jewellery, and functional/aesthetic creations. Hasna quit medical school, took a degree in journalism from the London School of Journalism, and also studied Fine Arts before relocating with her doctor husband to the United States where she discovered the joy of working with glass in an architecture course in Boston. Of her stunning sculpture Hasna says, “The glass nest is made up of plants and animals lamp worked over weeks to create a little cosm where harmony and peace exist, where the secret of happiness lies in the little things.”

How did the opportunity come about?

I get invitations from galleries all over the world to present my work. I chose this particular invitation because PAKS gallery is from a city I admire —Vienna, and they were going to represent me at the prestigious Cannes Festival, which is something I never even dreamed of getting into.

Was there a brief?

No. I had to send them three works that they would choose from. They chose my most complicated and greatly detailed sculpture, ‘Utopia’, which had taken me eight months to create.

How much time did you have? Was it made exclusively for the show?

I almost never ever create a sculpture for a show. If the show fits my sculpture , then I do the show. The reason is - I work from the heart. My sculptures are spontaneously and sporadically formed —from an inspiring story or a memory or an experience. My visceral reactions translate into physical form that articulate my response. Working with glass is five percent art and 95% science. At any given time, I cannot ignore the rules of physics and chemistry that dictate the process of glass-making. If art has to have rules also then I will be so stifled my work and I cannot breathe. Hence I choose not to walk that path.

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