There are ten of them, of different ages, with different approaches to glass. Yet, or rather, precisely because of this, ten Czech artists will be presented in Venice, Italy, from 4 September to 2 October 2021 in an exhibition entitled Czech Glass, Quo Vadis?! as part of the 5th edition of the international glass festival The Venice Glass Week.
“It is exclusively about living artists, actively creating at the present time. The exhibition will thus be a representative example of free artistic creation in glass in the 21st century in our country”; says Ondřej Škarka, founder of ART LINES, which organizes the whole event of presenting our artists abroad.
“The title of the exhibition Czech Glass, Quo Vadis?! works on both levels - literally and as a rhetorical question. It is a kind of reflection on the paths that Czech studio glass art has taken in recent years, what characterises it, what challenges it faces. It will suggest where contemporary Czech art glass has come in almost 60 years after its phenomenal success at EXPO 58 in Brussels”; says Mária Gálová, the project’s curator.
The artists presenting in Venice vary in age and therefore in their professional experience, They are seasoned and established professionals of older years, prominent representatives of the middle generation at the peak of their creative powers, and those who are at the beginning of their artistic careers. The works of the older artists are quite deliberately juxtaposed with the younger ones. Each generation builds on the tradition of its predecessors, but at the same
time tries to define itself against it and to engage in an active creative dialogue with it.
“Such challenges are all the more demanding in the field of studio glass because the younger ones are confronted with the phenomenal success of our oldest generation of glassmakers, favoured in a broad international context. Building on their pioneering and highly successful achievements is a difficult task, but on the other hand also a strong motivation. Younger artists in our country, more than anywhere else, are forced to seek, develop and try new, innovative approaches and techniques, to find their own distinctive artistic expression” says Mária Gálová.
Their artefacts will be on display at the exhibition Czech Glass, Quo Vadis?! glassmakers:
Vladimíra Klumpar (1954), Zdeněk Lhotský (1956), Jaroslav Róna (1957), Michal Macků (1963), Petr Stanický (1975), Klára Horáčková (1980), Martin Janecký (1980), Michaela Spružinová (1983), Luba Bakičová (1985), Tomáš Krejčí (1994)
Even with the more experienced authors, the selection of specific artefacts emphasised new forms and expressions. Whether it is Jaroslav Róna, sculptor, painter and performer, or Zdeněk Lhotský, painter, sculptor and technologist. Both are originally trained glass artists.
Together with the third exhibitor, Vladimíra Klumpar, they were pupils of the legendary Stanislav Libenský.
The works were also selected with the potential to create a symbiosis with a very specific industrial space in mind. The exhibition space is located on the island of Guidecca, which used to be a part of Venice reserved for mills, breweries, workshops, factories and docks. Today is still a place with a strong presence og Artisans and Craftmasters identities.
The presence of the direct natural light of autumn Venice adds another fascinating dimension to the works. “My aim is not to direct the visitor’s attention primarily to the beauty of the glass material, but to present glass as a material in its own right, which contributes to the overall impression of the work and all its qualities. Moreover, some of the artefacts have the character of a kind of situation-specific creation, responding to the events of the last year. This gives the exhibition an additional dimension - it becomes an authentic testimony about extreme life
circumstances” says the curator of the exhibition, Gálová, who was, among other things, the director of the Czech branch of the international auction house Dorotheum for over 16 years.
The exhibition Czech Glass, Quo Vadis?! would not have been possible in Venice without ART LINES’ Italian partner, the Giudecca Art District (GAD). It brings together a network of art professionals - curators, theorists, artists - whose interest is focused on the island of Giudecca.
“The aim of the GAD is to provide a contemporary art experience that generates connections between GAD People, staff and Visitors, Venetian Artisans Heritage and International Institutions and Partners.
We are running a permanent research and a permanent program creating a strong connection with the city of Venice and its Institutions” says Pier Paolo Scelsi, founder and Director of GAD – Giudecca Art District
ABOUT ART LINES
The Czech ART LINES Society is dedicated to actively supporting living artists and contemporary visual art in the fields of painting, sculpture and studio glass. One of the company's most visible projects to date is the SCULPTURE LINE Sculpture Festival, which this year for the seventh time connects the sculpture community across the globe. Last year, the festival spread to 15 countries and 41 cities across three continents through 83 installations by 48 leading artists. With the exhibition in Venice, Italy, ART LINES adds another line to its activities in the visual arts.