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Gas in Glass

Ineke Hans designs a bubbly, commemorative glass installation for the 50th anniversary celebrations of the discovery of natural gas in Groningen.

By Jeanne Tan / 05-08-2009

On 22 July 1959, natural gas was discovered in Slochteren, Groningen. To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the discovery, the special jubilee cultural programme G50 was put together. As part of this, Slochteren is hosting a commemorative exhibition of glass sculptures in grounds of Fraeylemaborg, an historic estate located in the village. The 23 hectare country estate is renowned for its landscape design in the romantic English style.

Each given a specific brief, 12 European artists and designers were invited to create glass sculptures for the celebration. The sculptures are spread over 1.4km in the park as a sculpture walk, comprising glass pieces representing different themes, such as the form of the gas field and the significance of natural gas. Symbolising the invisible nature of natural gas, glass was chosen for its sustainable qualities and offers a transparent view to the future. Titus Eliëns of the Gemeentemuseum, The Hague was the guest curator of the exhibition.

One of the 12 commissioned artists, Ineke Hans created an installation on a small hill consisting of suspended glass balls. The installation comprises 280 balls each representing 10 metres, symbolising the depth of the field at 2800 metres. Hung at different heights from the trees, the glass bubbles are mostly made of transparent blue glass. Fifty balls are opaque white and larger to represent the 50th anniversary. The installation is literally topped off by an Ineke Hans-designed 'Relax' bench made of recycled white plastic placed atop the lookout point.

The exhibition which was officially opened by Queen Beatrix in June will be open for the next few years.

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