Laura de Santillana and Alessandro Diaz de Santillana at the YSP

The current exhibition in the old Georgian chapel at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park features the work of an Italian sister and brother, Laura de Santillana and Alessandro Diaz de Santillana, who hail from a Venetian glass dynasty going back generations. Working separately, they both create works using the material their family has worked with for generations – glass.


The works are sympathetically displayed inside the chapel which is flooded with natural light.


Laura’s works are created from blocks of glass and elongated and twisted shapes. The surface moulded, which reflect and refract the light producing interesting optical effects that change with the light in the room – the intensity and the direction from which it comes as the sun moves across the sky.


She uses coloured glass, too – some of them with an intense colour like this intense purple piece – Nero CM Liquid Black (Purple) – that looks almost black, until viewed with the light source, one of the chapel windows, directly behind.




This piece is positioned so that it is viewed as soon as visitors walk through the door into the chapel. DSC05648

The two windows bring light in at different angles and the staff told us that it’s appearance is transformed during the day as the sun moves and the direction, intensity and quality of the light changes

Alessandro’s approach is similar, but different. He manipulates thinner sheets of glass, producing interesting surface textures, many of the pieces with a silvered finish, amplifying and emphasising the reflections.



His works are normally hung vertically on the walls of galleries


but at the YSP some of the pieces are displayed horizontally, raised on a plinth standing on the floor, giving a different perspective to his work.


I particularly liked this work, HS-YSP which, as the title implies, was created especially for the exhibition.


IMy first employer, where I worked for 11 years, was a glass manufacturer and I’ve retained a fascination for the material so the exhibition was particularly interesting for me. I felt that the de Santillana had produced some wonderful abstract pieces with the magic material and that the YSP have done an exceptionally good job in displaying them. If get the chance I’d like to return for another visit. The light is bound to be different and I’d love to see how the appearance of the works is changed. But, in any case, even without that aspect they are interesting enough to warrant another look..



2 thoughts on “Laura de Santillana and Alessandro Diaz de Santillana at the YSP

  1. I’m lucky enough to live just a 10 minute drive from the YSP so I’m going back to this one at least once. A wonderful exhibition and I very much enjoyed the write up above. The embedded video is a great watch. Excellent website all round.

    • Thanks for your comments. Although it is just over an hour’s drive on the other side of the Pennines we are regular visitors as they’re exhibitions are always worth seeing. An we always enjoy walking around the park to see old favourites like “The Family of Man”

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