The exhibition CZECH GLASS | FRAGILE, prepared for the seventh edition of the international glass festival in Venice, The Venice Glass Week, is a loose continuation of the exhibition Czech Glass, Quo Vadis?!, which took place during its fifth edition two years ago. Already then, as a curator, I was thinking in terms of a long-term project, not just a single individual presentation. Therefore, I intended to create a platform that would have the potential to present Czech glass over a longer time horizon, but always with a new concrete idea, with the intention of painting a more complete picture of what is happening in the field of free glassmaking in the Czech Republic. For the same reason, a logo was created - a kind of "Czech Glass brand" that will be filled with new content each time. The author of the logo and the entire visual identity this year is Jáchym Šerých, the architect is again Jiří Novotný.
The aim of the first year of the project was to present different positions of contemporary Czech glassmaking in a more general way, to create a creative, inspiring and in a way confrontational dialogue between artists of different ages and professional experience. It was equally important to show the diversity of technological processes. In this year's edition I built on these ideas and tried to take them one step further. I emphasized the potential of glass as a material that can fully stand up to specific artistic projects and pointed out the different creative approaches of the artists. I present the many layers of its use through a glass sculptor, a "new-tech" glass artist, a glass artist in tandem with a fashion designer, and a glass painter.
In the CZECH GLASS | FRAGILE exhibition, we encounter various characteristics of glass through the artworks, but I have highlighted the fragility. This attribute undoubtedly belongs to glass as a material - fragility immediately comes to mind as one of its basic characteristics. However, I was not only concerned with its understanding in the physical sense; this adjective opens the door to other spheres as well.
The word "fragile" is understood as brittle, easily broken, easily shattered, but it can sometimes take on other meanings, such as delicate, delicate, not very resistant or susceptible to something. It therefore has many levels and the exact meaning is only ascribed to it by the specific context. In a broader sense, the term is also used figuratively to refer to various mental, emotional and social aspects. We experience fragile relationships that are prone to misunderstanding, fragile family ties that are easily broken, or fragile bonds of friendship that can dissolve. Even the boundaries between hope, resignation and despair, truth, half-truths and lies, understanding, misunderstanding and manipulation are often very fragile and lead us to think more deeply about the nature of emotions, relationships and modes of communication.
Fragility in some of the above-mentioned senses is also an internal unifying element of the exhibited artefacts. Each of the artists brings into play subtle nuances and different forms of this adjective. In Alena Matějka's work we encounter the fragility of the existence of some, or perhaps even all, civilizations. Although they may be glorious and powerful, they are vulnerable and susceptible to various external and internal factors that can contribute to their crises, their downfall or their complete demise.
The creative duo Jungvirt-Kotěšovcová represents the fragility of the boundary between two completely different materials, which eventually merge into an inseparable unity. With their project, they also point out how manipulative the way the human body is presented in modelling can be, directly influencing, even dictating, the ideal of beauty. A subject that touches many people is extremely fragile and often hurtful.
And how fragile is the line between the disappearing and the surviving? Klára Horáčková's works suggest this. In the process of evolution, certain species and elements become more sensitive to change and die out, while others adapt and survive. This kind of fragility is fascinating and forces us to examine the world around us. In other of the author's works, we can also reflect on a very topical theme - how fragile and even disturbing is the boundary between the real world and that which is beyond our ability to perceive.
In her presentation, Dana Zámečníková reflects on the importance of our roots in remembering our parents and home. Her works guide us through a delicate web of memories that connect the past to the present and evoke strong emotions.
The installations by individual artists in the CZECH GLASS | FRAGILE exhibition function as separate entities. My intention, however, was to connect them in symbiosis into a common statement so that they can communicate, influence and strengthen each other. In this way they acquire new contents and new depth. The exhibition catalogue is again more of a thought guide than an expert text. It brings rather free essays about the artists, about how multilayered their personalities are, how deep the wells of their inspirations are, and about the ways of searching and finding the optimal way to connect everything and transfer it into a unique mass of glass. Of particular key importance to me is the message that in every artist and behind his or her work, one must see the human being.
Curator of the exhibition
FRANTIŠEK JUNGVIRT | BARBORA KOTĚŠOVCOVÁ
František Jungvirt graduated from the Secondary Vocational School in Třeboň, majoring in glass art with a focus on glass painting, and later from the University of Applied Arts in Prague in the Glass Studio under Prof. Rony Plesl. His creative journey also included study stays at the Istituto delle Arti A. Vittoria in Trento, Italy (2013) and at Kagawa University in Takamatsu, Japan (2015). František Jungvirt is one of the most outstanding personalities of the youngest glass generation in the Czech Republic. He develops his talent through incredible diligence and humility, which distinguishes him from many other young artists. Starting in 2014, when he was first introduced to the glass scene, he has won a number of prestigious awards.
Barbora Kotěšovcová graduated from the Secondary School of Clothing in Prague and has just finished her studies at the Academy of Arts and Crafts in Prague in the Studio of Clothing and Footwear Design under the guidance of Prof. Liběna Rochová. Her creative development was supported by study placements in France and Germany (Lycée des Métiers les Coteaux, Cannes, 2016; Hochschule Bielefeld - University of Applied Sciences and Arts, 2019) and work placements in Prague (Beata Rajská, 2014; LaFormela, 2017-2019; Hana Zárubová, 2020; Zuzana Kubíčková, 2023). Her work emphasizes perfect editing solutions and technological processing. She explores the boundaries of garment forms across history and connects costume and conceptual levels.
She graduated from the Secondary School of Arts and Crafts in Kamenický Šenov and later from the Academy of Arts and Crafts in Prague in the Glass Studio under the guidance of Prof. Vladimír Kopecký. In 1995, while still studying, she completed an internship at the Glasgow School of Art, in the Ceramics and Porcelain Studio of prof. Archie McCall. After graduation, she returned to her alma mater for several years to Prof. Kopecký, from whom she completed her doctoral studies in 2005.
She is one of the best known contemporary glass artists of the middle generation from the Czech Republic. She has exhibited her sculptures with specific poetics in many places in solo and group exhibitions. Her works are represented in numerous museums worldwide, such as Toyama Glass Art Museum, Toyama, Japan; Glas - Museet for glaskunst, Ebeltoft, Denmark; Glasmuseum Lette, Ernsting Foundation, oesfeld, Germany; Museum of Contemporary Art, Taipei, Taiwan; Institute for International Research in Glass, University of Sunderland, UK. Her work also adorn important state collections in this country, such as the Museum in Prague or the East Bohemian Museum in Pardubice.
She graduated from the Secondary School of Arts and Crafts in Kamenický Šenov, then from the Academy of Arts and Crafts in Prague in the Glass Studio under the guidance of Prof. Vladimír Kopecký. She underwent a six-month internship there in the Sculpture Studio under Prof. Jiří Beránek and a semester-long study stay at the Wetterhoff School of Art and Design in Hämeenlinna, Finland. Year 2008 was the beginning of her teaching career, when she first taught at the Academy of Arts and Crafts in Prague. and since 2012 she has been an assistant professor of Prof. Rony Plesl, Head of the Glass Studio.
She has over forty solo and group exhibitions to her credit, her works have been exhibited in Prague, London, Eindhoven, Paris, Milan, Basel, Venice and Madrid, and she has participated in many glass symposia at home and abroad. Her artefacts adorn private and institutional collections in the Czech and Slovak Republics, Egypt, Germany and the USA.
She graduated from the Czech Technical University in Prague, Faculty of Architecture, after graduation she worked for some time in the famous SIAL studio in Liberec, in the so-called Školka, under the renowned architect Karel Hubáček. In this highly inspiring environment she gained valuable experience. She was strongly influenced by meeting and working with both established and emerging colleagues, who subsequently influenced the development of Czechoslovak architecture for decades. She also completed a one-year internship at the Technical School in Aachen with Gottfried Böhm, another renowned architect. After her return, she went to the Academy of Arts and Crafts in Prague, to the Architecture Studio led by Prof. Josef Svoboda.
CZECH GLASS | FRAGILE
Partners of the seventh edition of the international glass festival in Venice The Venice Glass Week.