Fred Wilson | A Moth of Peace | 2018 | Seavest Collection
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Fred Wilson, A Moth of Peace, 2018
Murano Glass and Light Bulbs, 70 x 68 1/2 x 68 1/2 in. (177.8 x 174 x 174 cm)
Fred Wilson is renowned for multi-disciplinary artworks that challenge assumptions of history, culture, and race. In his two large chandelier sculptures in the entrance to the Viking Union, Wilson continues to expose the undercurrents of historical discourse. The chandeliers are, as he puts it, “complex sculptures of meaning and memory.” They are lavish symbols of wealth and privilege, modeled on traditional Venetian and Ottoman chandelier design. Wilson explains, “I wanted the chandeliers to embody the complex relationship between the Venetian Empire [in Italy] and the Ottoman Empire [in Eastern Europe including Turkey] and the Africans swept up into both their histories. These two works, while very different, are tied by their connection to history, to poetry, to identity, to beauty.”
The two chandeliers are the products of Venetian craftsmanship, made of Murano glass in the traditional Rezzonico style. Wilson's use of black glass is the first in the history of Venetian glassmaking. The titles come from literature. “The Way the Moon’s in Love with the Dark” is a line from a poem by Alexander Pushkin, whose great grandfather was an African born general in the Russian Army and a member of the Imperial Household in Moscow. The words “A Moth of Peace” are spoken by Othello in Shakespeare's play, as Othello tries to dissuades Desdemona from going with him to the war zone in Cyprus.