Bernard Heesen (1958) is one of the most important and influential glass artists in the Netherlands. This year, to celebrate his 65th birthday, the Museum of Glass Art in Amstelveen, Museum JAN, is hosting a festive exhibition of Heesen’s own work and that of Nienke Sikkema (1988) and Josja Caecilia Schepman (1980). In addition to showcasing masterpieces from Heesen’s oeuvre, Museum JAN will display recent, previously unexhibited work from all three artists.
Within glass art, Bernard Heesen is considered an innovator who during the manufacturing process, when the glass is hot and liquid, likes to let chance contribute to the final result. ‘My artwork clearly shows the movement in the glass.’ He is one of the few glass artists who designs and executes his own work. He became famous, among other things, for his glass ‘stones’ and his distinctive series of encyclopaedic creations.
De Oude Horn – generations in glass
In De Oude Horn glassblowing studio in Acquoy, Bernard Heesen learned the craft of glassblowing from his famous father, Willem Heesen. At that time, De Oude Horn was already a place where many (inter)national glass artists and designers worked, including Lino Tagliapietra and Andries Copier. In 1995, his father retired and handed over control to his son. Since then, De Oude Horn has served as Bernard Heesen’s workshop, but it also offers space to a new generation of glass artists.
Teaching the glass craft is a matter of great importance to Bernard Heesen. He for instance trained his assistants Nienke Sikkema and Josja Schepman to become independent glassblowers who mastered the craft in his workshop and developed their very own vision of glass art. This makes De Oude Horn one of the few places in the Netherlands where glass art is kept alive. De Oude Horn also has its own distinctive way of working and style that has been passed down various generations of glass artists. For artists Sikkema and Schepman – just as for Heesen – ‘playing with glass’ forms the basis of their daily work. The glass should not be forced, but rather skilfully guided, while making use of its possibilities. This results in colourful and decorative designs in which the process of glassblowing is visible.
About Museum JAN
Museum JAN in Amstelveen exhibits contemporary art and design. The museum’s own collection consists of unique glass objects, collected by the founder Jan van der Togt. He collected masterpieces by Dutch celebrities such as Andries Copier as well as the avant-garde Czech glass artists Vaclav Cigler and Stanislav Libensky. In addition to this distinctive collection, Museum JAN offers a broad and appealing exhibition programme.
Glass from De Oude Horn – Bernard Heesen, Nienke Sikkema and Schepman
24 June – 15 October
1182 JE Amstelveen