Bertil Vallien: Vessels of Time

September 14, 2019 - November 17, 2019

Swedish sculptor Bertil Vallien is renowned worldwide for his ethereal sculptures that speak of the passage of time and eternal truths. His sand cast glass sculptures of boats and mythological figures have won him a place as one of the world’s finest contemporary artists.

For more than 40 years, Vallien has been an innovator of contemporary glass art. Through his command of the material, he beckons the viewer to explore a deeper dimension of existence. Every sculpture conceals an existential or mythical story about life, love, and death.

Vallien was born in 1938, in the small suburb of Sollentuna north of Stockholm, Sweden. He and his siblings were raised in a religious atmosphere, grounded in the fervent precepts of the pentecostal movement, to which their parents belonged. But there were also other influences – he came into contact with people of different backgrounds and different sets of values, among them a journalist and an artist.

In 1955, he was accepted by the Ceramics department at Konstfack for a two-year foundation course, which was followed up by two years at the School for advanced Industrial Design (HKS/SAID). At the end of these years he was undecided about his future career, trying to choose between becoming a preacher, a pilot or a potter. An interim year of military service gave him some breathing-space before making a final decision. In 1959 he finally decided to continue at Konstfack. For long periods he practically lived at Konstfack, working day and night.