This Friday sees the opening of a new exhibition of new work in glass by Czech, Slovak and Austrian artists. The work is going on view at the Horácká Gallery in Nové Město na Moravě. The work was produced at the AGS Glassworks near Žďár nad Sázavou, located in the Czech-Moravia highlands, at this year’s International Glass Symposium.
“From my experience, and we organised eight symposia in the past in Škrdlovice, and I myself took part in similar projects in Nový Bor or Frauenau, Germany, symposia are important indeed. One of the main benefits is that they challenge ways of thinking and shake-up long-established or routine work processes: craftsmen employed at a glassworks receive original proposals from artists who are not restrained by technical limitations. Creating the final work thus presents a daring problem to overcome and the experience, I think, is rewarding for both the artist and the craftsman.”
Commercially, glassworks like AGS focus on the production of stylish products that included vases, lamps, bowls and plates; creating artistic works, as Jaroslav Svoboda can be different, often in scale, colour, texture, use of light and other qualities. There are different challenges which can include blowing or setting or folding unconventionally large pieces of glass in their molten state, or working with glass once cooled. The glassworks founder again:
“In the cold state alone there are many options in producing the final work: grinding, cutting, and polishing the glass. A diamond saw is used to cut away pieces and you work towards the final work not unlike a sculptor. Not with a hammer and chisel but with saws and grinders and other tools.”
According to Jaroslav Svoboda, this year’s symposium saw a number of pieces proposed that proved unconventional and exciting.
“One of the Czech-Austrian artists taking part had the idea to inscribe words into tableaux pieces, which were then sealed within molten glass. I have to say I had never seen anything like it. Not all of the pieces came out quite as intended - the technique was quite demanding – but the result is very interesting.”
Another idea was to use plaster casts as moulds for larger pieces of glass:
“Two artists who took part used plaster casts and we were a bit worried about that: it’s different than blowing glass into wooden forms but it turned out really well. Even when they were big, heavy pieces of up to 12 kilos, it worked. The pieces of one of the works together form a female figure in cobalt blue.”
The glass sculpture of the female in repose was created by artist Monika Vosyková who discussed details with local broadcaster TVV (TV Vysočina) a clip of which was posted on youtube:
“I wanted to create a bigger piece but because it’s not possible to use a blowpipe to create a metre-large object, I decided to make the laying woman out of several segments that were later positioned together. I decided to call the piece ‘Siesta’.”
All of the artists who took part in the first International Glass Symposium in Vysočina – unlike a similar project earlier this year by the Becher Gallery in Karlovy Vary – have experience in working in glass and so, says Jaroslav Svoboda, little compromise was necessary.
“Everyone who took part has training and has had long experience in glass and is a professional. Many of course make a living, for example, by teaching – because it’s difficult to make a living solely from one’s artwork. But glass for them is a priority and I have to say throughout the week that we worked together things went very well. I was a little worried about how some things would come together but we came up with methods never before used in our glassworks to create new work and I think our craftsman did an admirable job.”
The results now go on view at the Horácká Gallery.
If you would like more information in English or Czech about AGS Glassworks, this Vysočina symposium or the gallery were the work can be viewed follow the links:
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