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.
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.
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.