Photo credit: David Puig Serinya
Experience / Exhibitions / Fluidity: Identity in Swedish Glass

Fluidity: Identity in Swedish Glass

Glass moves. Glass heals. Glass speaks. Fluidity: Identity in Swedish Glass explores glass as a form of expression by artists on journeys of identity and self. It explores the power and intensity of glass to both heal and speak. From women artists among ASI’s glass collection who worked, at times, underrecognized in an industry historically dominated by men, to contemporary artists processing adversity, self-acceptance, and empowerment, Fluidity invites visitors to become part of the community, to be present in the moment, and to explore the pursuit of artistic expression in a challenging and complex medium.  

The stunning exhibition features the U.S. Premiere of Swedish artist Jo Andersson’s Being, an immersive glass experience where visitors engage with each object to create intricate light mosaics in a darkened, sound-scape gallery. By harnessing the power of light from their smart phone, guests can connect with their physical surroundings, themselves, and each other. Adjacent this installation, visitors can explore works by women artists from ASI’s glass collection, and contemporary artists who continue to challenge, form, and shape the glass industry both in Sweden and the Midwest. 

Being is a light installation which is intended to help bring individuals into the present moment. I wanted to create a safe space where viewers could lose themselves and fully experience the work as well as their responses to the work. Each Light Vessel is made to be a tool for meditation, personal insight and contemplation. The vessels are handblown and their shapes are inspired by the fluidity of glass creating organic, flowing forms. The vessels are then filled with water to increase their feeling of magnitude as well as intensify their interaction with the light that passes through them. The Light Vessels are meant to be a mirror for the viewer. They allow the individual to lose themselves and go within, into the present moment to meet themselves.” – Jo Andersson (she/her) 

This exhibition also showcases a curated selection of glass art by women artists from within the American Swedish Institute’s impressive glass collection—one of the finest collections of Swedish art glass outside of the Nordic region, with nearly 1000 objects representing over 100 years of glass artistry. These female artists operated both under and outside the umbrella of the popular glass studios, and, for some, in the shadow of their husband’s fame. Collectively, their work paved the way for contemporary artists such as Jo Andersson and influenced the trajectory of the Swedish Glass industry as a whole. Visitors will see objects from well-known artisans such as Ann Wolff (Warff) and Ingeborg Lundin for Orrefors, and iconic designer Ulrica Hydman Vallien’s creations for Kosta Boda, alongside lesser-known women like Eva Englund, Monica Bratt, Monica Backstrom, and Mona Morales Schildt. 

In partnership with ASI, Foci Minnesota Center for Glass Arts is demonstrating what is happening in the local glass community, including a display of work by local Swedish American artist Emma Wood who is exploring identity and relationship to Swedish heritage through the art of glass. 

“I’m interested in exploring my Swedish connection and the glass history/glass scene of Sweden and bringing that into new works – specifically Småland, where I lived and where my family is from.” – Emma Wood (they/them)     

More about Jo Andersson: 

Growing up in the US with Swedish parents who are both entrepreneurs, Andersson chose the creative path. After completing her Bachelor’s, she worked for different artists in Seattle, WA, before moving across the Atlantic. Following her completion of a Master of Arts from Konstfack, Andersson exhibited at, and has been represented by, Galleri Duerr in Stockholm. She was awarded the coveted Bernadotte Stipendium in Design in 2021. Jo continues to live in Sweden, where she practices and teaches in the region of Småland.

Photo credit: David Puig Serinya

Exhibition Supporters

Fluidity: Identity in Swedish Glass is supported by ASI’s members and donors.  Additional support provided by Foci Minnesota Center for Glass Arts. Minnesota artist activity is made possible by voters of Minnesota through a Minnesota State Arts Board Operating Support grant, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.