Heller Gallery is pleased to present this body, this place, our first solo exhibition of new work by Nadège Desgenétez. Seven new sculptures will be included in the exhibition. In this body, this place Desgenétez reflects on her desire to embrace the foreignness of the lands she has come to call home: to celebrate the familiarity of strangeness and the uncanny in the familiar. Her work investigates ideas of connection to place. It is informed by her experience as a migrant and a maker, and references the body, familiar landscapes and the process of glass blowing.
Desgenétez says that glass blowing to her is ‘at once physical and mental and requires a commitment to the present, a keen awareness of the body’s boundaries and abilities and of the specific needs of the molten glass. Forming, or transforming, in response to the body, the material is shaped by touch, with breath, answering every move, in a sequence that cannot be interrupted or postponed. Objects made of hand blown glass embody the process through which they are made. This allows for an inherent connection between the glass blower and the blown object, but also between the object, the place in which it is made, and the maker.’
Art historian, scholar and former Museum of Arts and Design director, Glenn Adamson, described her work as follows: ‘It would be difficult to overstate my surprise and amazement on encountering the work of Nadège Desgenétez, [which] combined sensuous, consummately crafted forms with a probing investigation of feminist iconography. Most impressively, she uses the materiality of glass itself to suggestive effect. Her sculptures reflect light when polished, but capture and internalize light when sand blasted, creating the impression of varying states of mind, extroverted and introverted, and of contrasting states of the body as well, subjective and objectified. It is an entrancing and sophisticated body of work.’
Born in France, Nadège Desgenétez has worked, taught and exhibited in Europe, North America, Asia and Australia. She has been the recipient of numerous awards and residencies, including the “Prix d’Honneur de la Fondation de France” (Paris, France), and two Saxe Awards from Pilchuck Glass School in 1997 and 2004 (Stanwood, USA). Her work is included in the collections of the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, PA; Canberra Museum and Art Gallery, Canberra, Australia, Museum of Glass, Tacoma, WA and the China Academy of Art, Hangzhou, China. She has been teaching at the Glass Workshop of the Australian National University in Canberra since 2005.