visiting an aristide Jean exhibition

My meeting with Aristide Najean

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Most serendipitous encounters occur when you least expect them: one happened to me as I made my way to an appointment, while I was on a business trip.

After a slow-footed walk through the streets of Venice, on the steamboat ride with destination to Murano (a collection of islands famous for their glassmaking industry), I met a delightful couple: Sylvie and her husband, Aristide.

Sylvie is a friendly and engaging woman, and Aristide turned out to be Aristide Najean, a French artist who works glass and who has perfected his craft after learning from the most celebrated master glassmakers in Murano.

Aristide and Sylvie invited me to dinner with them and their friends. I gladly accepted. Later, I was delighted to find that, besides being an exceptional artist, Aristide is also an excellent chef, an Appassionato of haute cuisine.

Before dinner, Aristide offered to show us the furnace, where he and his team of master glassmakers give shape to his ideas and where he stores some of his bigger pieces and works in progress. On the upper floor, we visited his laboratory, filled with his sketches and other creations: chandeliers, statues of bulls and other animals, candelabras, lamps and more.

In a separate building is the Museum, where he also displays many of his creations, each one unique and inspired and bright: paintings, totems, a glass statue of an armored samurai, a statue of an Egyptian deity. So many objects that I can’t even begin to list them all.

Honestly, I was- and still, remain- so awed by his art that I can’t find the words to describe what I saw; and yet, I can’t not talk about it. Looking at the pictures I took that day, I too feel inspired to create something and wish I had such imagination.

Glass- a graceful material that often lends itself to smooth shapes and cool tonalities- in his pieces is given new life, finds itself lit from within by primal energy and vibrant fire.

Aristide’s creativity manifests itself in countless different forms and colors. I didn’t know that the same types of objects could assume such different figures. For example, his chandeliers, each more distinctive than the last: some replicate delicate tree branches; others look like fountains of ice that glow with a cold and powerful light; a few remind me of the sea, water flowers and corals; some are home to crystal animals such as parrots or stags.

I am so thankful to Aristide and Sylvie for inviting me into their home and for showing me such magnificent works of art.


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