The Large Glass department offers a material-based study in the fine-arts, which encourages the students to experiment and to explore the limits of materiality. Our main focus is the individual artistic position of the student and the understanding of the required practical and theoretical expertise of being an artist.
We have a strong and unique position in the conceptual approach of glass as a sculptural material in contemporary art. Defying the traditions of Studio Glass, our students are not glass-artists, but identify with the processes of Fine Arts.
We encourage our students to be explorative and innovative and to challenge the material by moving beyond the borders of this specific field. Besides sculpture and drawing, (combinations with) performance, video and installational work are frequent forms of expression. Technique is a tool, not a goal. Yet, basic skills are taught throughout the study, supporting the students to specialize in one or more techniques or media, if desired.
As the material glass is characterised by its far-reaching diversity, it is neither a discipline nor philosophy, but rather a very specific medium that can be applied in a multitude of shapes and form, in fine arts, design and architecture.
Students learn how to analytically and critically converse with their lecturers and fellow students. Mutual assistance and exchange of knowledge and ideas are essential.
The students work independently on individual projects. They are accompanied by their regular teachers and a changing group of guest lecturers. Students have classes in 'Reading and Writing’, philosophy and the basic techniques of glass-making. A high degree of responsibility and autonomy is required to jointly maintain the studio, improve technical skills and at the same time meet the challenge of developing ideas and concepts.
Prior technical knowledge is not required. Students who complete the programme can use the title of Bachelor of Art and Design (BA).
A new name for the Glass department
With this new name we want to emphasise on the contextual ambitions of the department and give direction to the objectives in form and content.
The Gerrit Rietveld Academie's Glass department has always had a strong autonomous and experimental attitude, which has eventually conveyed into a clear orientation to the fine arts. The many examples of crossovers, which have been executed by several generations of students, are exemplary.
The Large Glass refers to a work by Marcel Duchamp, originally titled La mariée mise à nu par ses célibataires, même, which represents the first use of glass in conceptual art.
By associating with the work of Marcel Duchamp we express our affinity with the explorations of glass as part of a broader field of materialisation. We see our work in the tradition of the processes of fine arts rather than the traditions of glass making.