“Everything was beautiful and nothing hurt"
Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five, 1969
In Everything was Beautiful, and Nothing Hurt, Alex Seton creates a series of glass installations that contemplate memory, forgetting, and loss with the passing of time.
Created specially for the cells of The Lock-Up, Seton presents a series of chandeliers in tribute to those made by Newcastle’s discontinued Leonora Glassworks. Each piece riffs upon chandeliers that were ubiquitous in theentranceways of clubs and RSLs of post-World War II Australia.
The title of the show refers to Kurt Vonnegut’s singular anti-war novel about the fire bombing of Dresden that dislocates linear time. The founders of the Leonora glassworks started out making aircraft bomb-sights, but flourished when they moved into art glass.
Glass exists in its own special state of matter. It is a solid produced by cooling molten material that still holds its liquid memory. Seton contrasts the layered geological time evident in his favoured material of marble with this captive moment in glass.
This exhibition also reflects what writer Mark Twain observed about Australian history, “it does not read like history, but like the most beautiful lies”. There is a tragedy to a country that struggles with the more violent aspects of its history when they are annealed into every moment, both light and dark.
Created in residence at Canberra Glassworks
Supported by Create NSW