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Untitled (Ceiling)

Untitled (Ceiling)

Dale Chihuly
b.1941

Untitled (Ceiling)
  • Blown glass
  • 2003
  • Dimensions: Not Available
  • 318 Wellington Street West, The SoHo Hotel, Toronto

About the artwork

Suspended above the entrance to the SoHo Metropolitan Hotel is a piece that compels one to look up, way up. Enclosed in a clear case is a dazzingly colourful and energetic ceiling made from 80 individual, hand-blown glass discs. Created by renowned artist Dale Chihuly, this Untitled piece gives one the impression of swimming under the sea or of being buried beneath countless petals and leaves. A replica and smaller scale version of Chihuly’s Persian Ceiling, Untitled is best seen aglow at night. In it’s perceived movement and rich display, Chihuly’s work serves as a symbol of the vibrant lifestyle fostered by the SoHo Metropolitan and the district that surrounds it.

About the artist

Dale Chihuly was first introduced to the art of glassblowing while studying interior design at the University of Washington. Wishing to deepen his understanding of the craft, Chihuly enrolled in the first glass program in the United States, held at the University of Wisconsin, and continued his learning at the Rhode Island School of Design, where he would later develop his own courses and teach for a number of years. Upon receiving a Fulbright Fellowship in 1968, Chihuly travelled to Venice where he worked with and observed artisans of the Venini factory blowing glass with using ancient techniques. This trip to Italy was crucial in developing the way Chihuly works today and laid the foundations for him to induct glass in to the realm of fine art. For over five decades, Chihuly has explored glassblowing through new and old techniques, consistently pushing the boundaries of contemporary art. By drawing inspiration from the world around him, Chihuly creates statements using colours and forms that capture the imagination and move beyond conventional ideas of function and beauty. The majority of his works are made on an impressive scale and they are often installed in seemingly precarious positions, such as hanging from a ceiling, extending outwards, or intertwined with one another. Chihuly’s pieces have made their way around the world and been included in many major solo exhibitions. His works can be found in more than 200 international museum collections and he has been the recipient of numerous awards, as well as twelve honorary doctorate degrees.

Fun facts

  • In 1976, Dale Chihuly was involved in a car crash that resulted in the permanent loss of vision in one of his eyes. To help reduce strain and prevent any further damage, the artist has donned an eye patch ever since.
  • Chihuly has always preferred working with teams and has adopted a major workshop practice over the years, similar to artists such as Jeff Koons and Andy Warhol.

Engagement questions

  • Toronto’s identity is partly shaped by its public realm, do you think Toronto would be less appreciable without this sculpture?