We are delighted to announce that the exhibition Unbreakable: Women in Glass has won the 2020 Bonhams Prize for The Venice Glass Week. The prize is awarded to the best project participating in the festival, and aims to inspire original and high-quality projects in the field of contemporary art in glass.

“I’ve never won any prize in my life, not even at school!” Berengo noted in his acceptance speech for the award at Palazzo Franchetti, “so for me to win this honour – receiving the Bonham’s prize – for me it’s like winning a Nobel Prize for Art.” He went on to thank the curators Nadja Romain and Koen Vanmechelen, before announcing his decision to donate the prize money of 1,000 euros to the non profit humanitarian organisation Women for Women International, a charity which provides practical and moral support to female survivors of war, and for which Romain is a board member.

Adriano Berengo and Nadja Romain receive the Bonhams Prize for the exhibtion Unbreakable: Women in Glass

Adriano Berengo and Nadja Romain receiving the Bonhams Prize for the exhibtion Unbreakable: Women in Glass – Photo credit Edward Smith

Romain made a moving speech in which she spoke about the fragility and fortitude of the artists involved in the show, as well as the city of Venice itself. Curator Koen Vanmechelen was unfortunately unable to attend the award ceremony. The Belgian artist, who is a longstanding friend and collaborator of the studio, had been in Venice just the week before coordinating the installation of the exhibition with Romain. “He has a gift for making artworks speak to each other” says Berengo. It was Vanmechelen who also created the artwork that serves as the striking imagery for the show, collaborating with the female led Studio Leyssen to forge an unforgettable visual identity for Unbreakable.

Artist and curator Koen Vanmechelen at Unbreakable: Women in Glass

Curator and Artist Koen Vanmechelen at Unbreakable: Women in Glass – Photo credit Francesco Allegretto

A huge thank you to everyone who made this show such a success and everyone who believed in it. As Fondazione Berengo’s first exhibition of the new decade, and the first since lockdown this win marks a true moment in the history of the Fondazione and Studio. It is also the first exhibition held by Berengo dedicated solely to the work of female artists. It’s a show which serves the future, displaying a desire for the inequality in the art world to end, and for its glass ceiling to shatter. Thanks to curators Nadja Romain and Koen Vanmechelen an invigorating mix of artworks sourced from the Berengo archives is combined with numerous new works created in the aftermath of Italy’s lockdown. 

Laure Prouvost's Vegetables Falling from the Sky Chandelier

Laure Prouvost, Vegetables Falling from the Sky Chandelier, 2020 – Photo credit Francesco Allegretto

Chiara Dynys' Enlightening Books

Chiara Dynys, Enlightening Books, 2018 – Photo credit Francesco Allegretto

The exhibition, which features the work of over sixty award-winning contemporary female artists, remains open until the 7th of January 2021. Entrance is free. For more info click here.

Karen LaMonte, Figurine 5, Figurine 6, Figurine 10, 2020 – Photo credit Francesco Allegretto