Material Experiments: an exhibition by Omer Arbel at the London Design Festival 2022

At London Design Festival 2022, multidisciplinary Canadian artist Omer Arbel presents Material Experiments, a live glassblowing performance, at the Victoria & Albert Museum. For nine days, September 17 to 25, the John Madejski Garden, at the V&A Museum, will turn into an immersive glassblowing studio. Arbel’s iridescent sculpture 113 will take center stage for the exhibition’s duration.

Discover Design London 2022

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Live glass-blowing performance by Omer Arbel, photo Fahim Kassam

Sculpture 113 follows the exploration of the relationship between copper alloys and glass. 113 expresses the beauty of creation by using the material properties for making abstract forms out of them. To create sculpture 113, a glass form is blown conventionally, then melted copper is poured into the hot glass vessel. The substantial differences in the composition of the two materials cause the glass shape to shatter during the cooling process, leaving behind a metallic shadow.

Read the interview with Omer Arbel

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Live glass-blowing performance by Omer Arbel, photo Fahim Kassam

Glass and copper for a delicate and fragile sculpture, 113 by Omer Arbel

The metal, when hot, does not come into contact with oxygen on the glass side of the form, leaving an iridescent finish; this creates a fascinating contrast to the rough oxidized finish found on the inner surface. These works demonstrate Arbel’s signature process; in fact, the artist prefers that the intrinsic properties of a given material suggest its shape rather than imposing an external idea of shape on the material. What remains of 113 are the shattered shards of glass and the delicate beauty of a very thin and fragile sculpture, like an archaeological find.

Sculptures 113 Group, in blown glass and melted copper, by Omer Arbel

The research process unfolds in the monograph titled Omer Arbel. The monograph, published by Phaidon, captures Arbel’s multi-faceted production, bringing together twenty of his most significant projects in sculpture, lighting, industrial design and architecture.

Material Experiments, from September 17 to 25 at the Victoria & Albert Museum