– My encounter with Misha Ignis –


It is very striking the great awareness that Misha Ignis has of his own artistic experience. Born in 1953, after many years of glassblowing he does not hesitate to tell me about the genesis of his artworks and about his relationship with art and with the whole world.

He talk in a such engaging and fresh manner that he reminds me more a young artist full of enthusiasm at his beginning rather than a glass master with a successful thirty year long career. (We celebrate today his “glass jubilee”).

His bowl-shape, “microcosmi” of light and colors, need not only physical energy and skills to be blown but, also a creator’s liberated soul that puts them in existance. It is quite spontaneous to compare his creations to little “cosmi”, thinking about the great relevance he gives to the “nothing”, sometimes identified with the loud silence and sometimes with the virgin white.

A perfect analogy with the primordial soup from which came out the world. He talks about his “Zero State”. A land where his mind is open, with no previous ideas (which would be definitely recycled during the creative process), no preconceptions, no influences. An artist full of ideas is an artist full of EGO. Misha Ignis points out the necessity for him to keep the distance from his perceivable dimension in order to fit the best position to create. “Zero State” should not  be confused with “emptiness”; it is omnipotence and omnipresence. It is a moment in the nonlinear time, waiting for something that has not yet been revealed but which is mysteriously part of it. After all, isn’t the white the only apparently neutral color that includes all the others?

If the artistic creation is for Misha Ignis like a religion, I do not hesitate to claim that he is a Mystic who is not talking about his programmatic philosophy but who is giving me his confession; a confession of love for the rituality of his work. Every ritual act requires a preparation. The silence of the EGO is considered by Ignis as a fundamental condition to let the “Third Hand” comes into action. It is a powerful force that guides his arm while he is working the viscous mass of glass, a superior authority that is always in conflict with the human temptation of self-imposition. Ignis starts immediately to apologize, being aware of the essential incommunicability of such an interior experience. But I can read a bright memory of this experience in his eyes. I accept his apology while the words of a mystic hymn by Saint Bernard resound in my head (“Nec lingua valet dicere, nec lettera esprimere”) just to remind me that the incommunicability is the main evidence of the most sincere mystic experiences.

So I invite you to look at his glassworks, to gaze at their forms, and to let yourself be stricken by their colors. But at the same time please do not stop your mind just in the middle of that spiritual path that the artist has prepared for us. One of the things that struck me the most about him was his idea that the human eye is a miraculous tool (because it allows the perception) but it is the intuition the most reliable form of knowledge. Let’s have the courage to dig deeper into those “cosmi” – his artworks – and please do not be scared if this path is much more mysterious and complex rather than those which the senses usually force us to walk through to reach a judgment. Walking this path, human words are not necessary, and not appropriate. Thus, these “cosmi” will be surrounded by the same silence from where they have risen. This is the reason why he talks about his art as “meta-aesthetic” or “art of ethic”: a pure spiritual experience, free from every mental, psychological or conceptual simplification. At this point I do understand that the enthusiasm that struck me at the beginning was a real expression ofenthousiasmos. In the Greek world it meant being so close to the Divinity (literally being inside the Divinity) that was the divine Entity itself that creates, works and operates.

It is impossible not to ask him: “Why the glass?”. He answers with few words, and it is immediately evident that the glass chose him, not the contrary. He immediately took a position facing this choice. When you are grab by something you can run away or decide to devote yourself to it, laying peacefully in its arms. Glass has been and encounter for him, and Ignis has always treated it as much more than a plain material. Glass is a live person, a beautiful princess and only if you court her properly she reveals her changeable and multiform beauty. Glassblowing is like inviting the princess to dance. This dance is dangerous, it a dance with fire and water at the same time. So you need to pay attention and to keep on seeking the perfect harmony between hart and gesture.


Maria Elisa Giorgi
AION Mastrpieces SA