Modern Masters

Dale Chihuly

Chelsea Barracks Sculpture Trail 2024

Following the successful three phases of its sculpture trail, Chelsea Barracks is pleased to add to its art programme with the inaugural edition of ‘Modern Masters’, a free outdoor programme of contemporary art curated by public art and cultural placemaking agency New Public, in partnership with London Craft Week.

This first edition showcases a selection of works by renowned American artist Dale Chihuly. Thoughtfully placed throughout Chelsea Barracks in Belgravia, the outdoor programme welcomes the public to explore art amongst its architecture and public grounds, embracing the creativity and community of the development.

Across his 60-year career, artist Dale Chihuly has used glass to explore the way form interacts with light and space, creating installations in harmonious dialogue with the environments in which they are sited, and inspiring new perceptions of space. His latest selection of works features four installations at Chelsea Barracks, a notable new addition in a line of other major Chihuly exhibitions and sitings in London, including the 1999 ‘V&A Chandelier’ at the Victoria and Albert Museum, the acclaimed 2019 exhibition ’Chihuly at Kew’ and others.

Dale Chihuly

Electric Yellow and Deep Coral Tower (2017)

A soaring structure of upstretched tendrils in radiant yellow and coral hues, this tower of hand-blown glass forms affixed to a steel armature evokes flames and, though static, suggests a riot of writhing movement. The Towers series is a natural evolution of the Chandeliers, answering Chihuly’s dilemma of how to suspend works that weigh thousands of kilograms from structures that cannot support the weight. The simple answer? Invert them and make them terrestrial. 

Though initially a response to an engineering problem, Chihuly’s Towers has become one of his more beloved and recognisable series, central to exhibitions in historic cities, museums, and botanical gardens around the world. This particular installation—Electric Yellow and Deep Coral Tower—was previously sited at Gardens by the Bay in Singapore in 2021, and Chihuly at Biltmore in Asheville, North Carolina in 2018. It is now found in the Mulberry Square at Chelsea Barracks, standing tall amongst the greenery.  

Dale Chihuly

Aqua Blue and Amber Chandelier (2011)

A cascade of glass combining long, trailing tendrils and bulbous, marine globes in cheery shades of blue, gold, and citron, the Aqua Blue and Amber Chandelier is playful in both form and palette. This installation gains a fascinating tension from its lighter-than-air suspension and the way its shades of blue seem to diffuse into the sky behind it, while the reinforced “quad pod” on which it rests conveys an undeniable heaviness.

Like his Towers, Chihuly’s Chandeliers demonstrate his desire to explore colour on a grand scale. Over the years, he has explored both multicoloured compositions and variations on a single colour. Unlike traditional chandeliers, they reflect and transmit light, instead of emitting it. Located at the Whistler Square water feature, the Aqua Blue and Amber Chandelier has previously been sited at Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, Arizona in 2021 and the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden in 2012.

Dale Chihuly

Amethyst Reeds (2024)

Chihuly’s Reeds made their debut during the groundbreaking 1995–96 Chihuly Over Venice project. Reminiscent of the Icicle forms common in his Chandeliers and Towers, Reeds become the most extreme expression of this elongated form, at up to three metres tall each.

Because the long, upright, tubular forms contrast with organic, irregular shapes found in nature, Chihuly frequently uses them in conservatory or botanical garden exhibitions, emphasizing contrasts and creating complex compositions. Outside of garden exhibitions, he often presents Reeds atop logs of raw wood to incorporate an element of contrast between the tall, sleek stalks of glass and the rough grain of wood. While Reeds compositions are typically a single colour, here we see a unique monochrome colourway that pairs deep hues of violet with vivid magentas. Visitors entering Chelsea Barracks from Chelsea Bridge Road entrance will be welcomed by this piece within the water feature of Mulberry Square.

Dale Chihuly

Mulberry Square Fiori (2024)

The name of Chihuly’s Mille Fiori compositions is scarcely an exaggeration. Italian for thousand flowers, these arrangements of glass in every conceivable shape become lush gardens of what, for all their vibrancy, may as well be living forms. 

Encompassing tall Reeds, sinuous Marlins, dappled and candy-bright Floats, and a cluster of cobalt tendrils emerging from the ground, Mulberry Square Fiori is not representational—that is, it does not mimic the appearance of the thousand flowers it is named for. Rather, it captures the unrestrained vitality of a July garden in a tribute to Chihuly’s beloved late mother, Viola, a master gardener and colour fanatic.

Chelsea Barracks
Belgravia, London SW1W 8BG

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