The Roots

Antoine PIERINI was born in 1980 in Antibes, a city in the South-East of France, facing the Mediterranean Sea on one side and the Alps on the other, and whose foundations date back to Antiquity. However he grew up in Biot, a village where there are various glass studios with international influence where he grew up and exercised his passion.

His father Robert PIERINI, glass master, shares his know-how and his passion for glass with him whilst his mother, environmentalist militant, passes down her love for nature and environment to him.

maître verrier
Antoine with his father, Master Glassmaker - 1980

At the age of seven, Antoine already expresses the desire to handle glass. One cannot miss his vocation when working in the hotshop is a family tradition! In fact, not only his father but also his uncle and his aunt, Alain et Marysa BÉGOU, as well as Xavier CARRÈRE, his cousin, count amongst the most famous French glass artists, having put the spotlights back on hand-blown glass between1980 and 2000.

Thus, Antoine spends his childhood between his father’s studio where he discovers, amazed, the art of handling molten matter and walks through forest, mountains, or on the seashore with his family.

This education gave him a taste for beautiful and simple shapes, natural materials combined in a sober yet contrasted manner.

artiste souffleur de verre
Antoine at the Old Mill - 1982

Spreading his wings

At the age of twenty, Antoine decides to dedicate himself fully to his art. Hours spent by his father’s side taught him how difficult it can be to create a refined and sober artwork while keeping a strong emotional power.

He pursues his apprenticeship through training programs, artist residencies and experiences in various artists’ studios, museums (MusVerre Sars-Poterie France, Museum Of Glass Tacoma USA, Niijima Glass Art Museum Japan) and international art centers (Pilchuck USA, Cesty Skla Ways of Glass Czech Republic, Urban Glass Brooklyn USA, The Glass Factory Boda Sweden).

Meeting the biggest names of contemporary glass nourishes and develops his creative process. To work on his art works as installations, to maintain and search for a quest for history and meaning trough his own inspirations and ideas.

On another hand, Antoine shows an interest for modern and contemporary artists, and notably for the « School of Nice » such as Arman and his relation to distorted manufactured objects, Constantin Brancusi’s refined and minimalistic esthetics.

Artistic approach

“The Mediterranean is sublime, captivating and unpredictable. Since the dawn of time, it has nurtured the fantasies of those who look to the horizon across the open seas. This wild expanse incites contemplation, urging us to travel; an odyssey that began in ancient times, with the birth of navigation. And laid the foundations for so much else that makes us what we are today, such as writing and philosophy but also the discovery of a fascinating, bewitching material - glass. Across the Mediterranean, we set off on an exploration filled with uncertainty, perils and mysteries, which will pit us against the power of the elements but also against our strengths and weaknesses, diving into the depths of our psyche.”

The common thread along my pathway as an artist is our relationships with the natural and cultural heritage of the Mediterranean, the heritage on which our societies are founded. The connections and interaction with nature and mankind at the crossroads between different civilisations make this sea a space between multiple worlds.

“What has this natural and cultural heritage brought us? What should we do to protect and safeguard it?”

“How do we reforge links between different peoples? What are the issues for this flow of migrants across the Mediterranean? Does the Mediterranean way of life still exist? If so, is it an alternative to the excesses and downward slide of our current society?”

“Here lies the source”. Albert Camus wrote literary gems and created the idea of Mediterranean cosmopolitanism, or “la pensée de midi”, this movement seen by some as utopian and by others as necessary. Destined to reinvent a common Mediterranean future. A balance in a microcosm, between East, West and Asia, where Christians, Jews, Arabs and free-thinkers intermingle. This philosophy is the basis for all my research, and I strive to retranscribe it in poetic works.

According to the Ancient Greeks, disorder is always the precursor to order. Like Ulysses returning to Ithaca from his Odyssey and engaging in the slaughter of all of Penelope’s suitors amid absolute chaos before things return to order. Or like a volcano giving vent to its anger before forming an island and giving life in an eternal cycle of renewal.

So for us, it’s a matter of knowing where we are in the chronology of events, finding our place, having an order of priority and relearning a way of life, a way of cohabiting, in harmony with the rhythm of the seasons. That’s the Mediterranean dream.

“Here lies the source”. In my case, I find it in glass and in this Mediterranean way of life, providing an inexhaustible source of inspiration for describing the challenges and wonders of our planet.

Glass is a material that takes on numerous contradictory properties: primitive and noble, dark and light, strong and fragile. It is a metaphor for our world, which seems solid and everlasting yet is immensely fragile. This is a medium that must be worked by a team, acting as one, in the moment, thus demanding dialogue and a spirit of cohesion but also mental and physical strength. The perfect material for symbolizing the tensions and promises of our age.