As the homonymy of the words could suggests, it is common to use glass to make drinking glasses. Glass blowing artists experiment with shapes, texture and colors until these glasses lose their nature of object of daily use to become artwork. However, I have never seen cutlery made of glass before stepping into Bibi’s art gallery. During our next conversation, I delve into the story of these pieces that unexpectedly uncovered reflections on time, memories and symbols.
Matilde Bignotti: In your gallery, I see artwork which is really different, combining different materials, there are sets of spoons and knifes. Could you tell me more about these series? I assume they are not mean to be used to set the table.
Bibi Smit: During the war, a family member had to flee his house. He took his silver cutlery with him set as payment. During his journey he would sell parts of the cutlery set to pay his way. To this day, a surviving relative is hunting small antique fairs in to find back some knives and forks in order to complete the set. Individual parts can form a set. Have they ever left their box, or they have been reunited after a long time, exchanging stories and experiences?
Are the glass knives maybe the lost property of the future?
Has time staggered?
MB: In their simplicity, these objects have seen so much history. Is it the same for the spoons?
BS: Quite the opposite. I continued the thought but in the opposite way. Some objects, like the knifes, are used and worn while other are beautifully untouched. As a set of spoons that a couple may receive when they get married. Really nice, but too delicate to be ruined. So, these objects never lived, probably they were always kept in a drawer.
MB: Interesting! I guess this difference also emerges from how you present them: the knifes are entangled on the floor, probably enjoying the reunion. Conversely the spoons are lying in order on the tray. There are other spoons that look different again, two are lying in beeswax and one is kept in a felt pocket.
BS: The felt and the beeswax express a different type of intimacy: the glass in gently protected. Like a parent who is protecting its child, and nurturing her. And the object is used to feed, to nurture, to nourish.
Stepping into Bibi’s gallery makes me feel like a child. Everything triggers new questions and the shapes, lights and diversity of the artworks offers different perspectives on the world, its nature and objects. Today, my attention fell on the houses. Their irregular shapes, transparent and dark figures and compositions seem to embody intriguing stories.
Matilde Bignotti: ‘Moving through’, ‘Hiding in my castle’, ‘Inner feelings’. I have the impression that these houses want to suggest something else.
Bibi Smit: House is belonging somewhere, right? Whether it be your house or your community or your town or your country. It is also who you are and if you feel rooted and you feel strong and you feel that you are where you belong.