We are closed from December 25, 2023 to December 2, 2024.
Tadeáš Podracký (*1989) is a Czech artist working at the intersection of fine art and design. He is a graduate of the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague, as well as the Design Academy in Eindhoven, the Netherlands. He conceives his works as intricate explorations of form and material, pushing and even transcending the boundaries of design objects into the realm of fine art. Consequently, his works are more akin to complex sculptural pieces that, through their surface, camouflage their original utilitarian function like mimics. This hybridity is also apparent in Podracký’s perception and approach to the design of objects, which he first deconstructs and then reconstructs/exposes in a way that leaves only a hint of their original purpose. His sources of inspiration lie in the canonized shapes, materials, and patterns of art and design history, which he approaches from a different perspective, thereby unsettling the viewer’s eye.
In the exhibition “The Bloom of Bones,” Tadeáš Podracký explores how the hybridization of rituals from traditional folk culture, historically linked to pagan and Christian mythologies, and their performance in the urbanized context of the city intersect with the identity shaped by contemporary material culture. Through experimenting with the narrative potential of myth as a medium for a deeper connection between objects and people, he has created a series of five new works that offer an alternative perspective on the human environment. Primarily, he investigates how new contemporary mythologies and artifacts can enhance rootedness, interconnectedness, and a sense of belonging as a result of the exchange between objects and people. The central motif around which the entire exhibition revolves is a sculptural relief representing the personification of death in the form of a skeleton, which rejuvenates and becomes adorned with human and floral details. This transformation connects the entire exhibition and permeates author-conceived everyday objects, where human anatomical details merge with organic botanical elements, blurring the boundaries between a living body and an inanimate object. In the gallery space, Podracký creates an environment where he hints at the possibility of an intimate connection between objects and people, seeking to present a different understanding of how these artifacts influence their surroundings, including their ability to create and deepen situations and social bonds.
Tadeáš Podracký’s works have been exhibited at numerous international trade fairs focusing on applied arts, as well as in galleries and institutions, including Chamber Gallery New York, Design Miami Basel, FOG San Francisco, Maison et Objet Paris, Mint Gallery London, Mudac Museum Lausanne, Designblok Prague, Salone del Mobile Milano, and London Design Festival. He has received several international awards, including the “Czech Grand Design” in the Discovery of the Year category and the “AD Design Award Germany” for “Vintage Reloaded.” He is represented by Side gallery in Barcelona, and since 2023, he has been co-leading the K.O.V. (Concept – Object – Meaning) studio at the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague, alongside Romana Drdová.
The title of the exhibition not only introduces an unusual spatial relationship, but also evokes Wim Wenders’ iconic and epic 1993 film (carrying the translated title) Faraway, So Close!, which enchanted viewers with its poetic portrayal of the angelic and human relationships of the 90s generation. Indeed, it was also during the 1990s that Lada, Barbora and Anna first crossed paths.
Lada Semecká is an established, internationally recognized visual artist. After graduating from professor Vladimír Kopecký’s Glass Art Studio at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Prague (today, UMPRUM), Semecká remained at this institution for another eight years, before relocating to the Japanese Toyama City Institute of Glass Art, where she worked as a teacher. This Japanese stay served to further clarify the subtle relationship between materials and natural processes for the artist. This has meant that for Lada Semecká considerable sensitivity, unpretentiousness and a close relationship with nature remain key principles guiding her work. Recently, Semecká has been experimenting with the artistic possibilities inherent in chance and sounds. “I am interested in images and spaces. Through the mass of glass I perceive the atmosphere of the world around me. I communicate with it and through it. I seem to understand it, and sometimes the material itself prompts an idea within me and gives me the time and necessary projection surface to crystallise the idea and then to express it.”
Barbora Křivská is a graduate of Professor Vladimír Kopecký’s Glass Art Studio at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Prague. It was here that she had the opportunity to delve into the secrets of working with glass as a material, along with exploring its unique luminous qualities. Vladimír Kopecký remains a great source of inspiration for Křivská in terms of the unorthodoxy of working with glass, the joy of painting and colours, and the entire concept of creation. Most of Křivská’s works display unifying elements of a distinctive colours, simplicity, and unusual colour combinations. The artist moves with ease between surface and space, colour and graphic structure, glass art and textiles, drawing and painting. An almost alluring sense of effortlessly floating between genres is a key feature of Křivská’s works.
Anna Polanská is yet another graduate of the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Prague, first studying at Prof. Kurt Gebauer’s studio, then under Prof. Marian Karel at the Glass in Architecture studio. Her work is characterized by a strong visual sense on the one hand and an equally strong sense of tactility on the other. Another key element is the importance of details, which helps to determine the expressive and philosophical meaning of the given works. Polanská’s art is closely linked to her interest in humanity, the natural landscape and their respective interconnected relationships – specifically, nature in relation to man, capturing natural phenomena and reflecting on interchangeability and the ephemeral nature of things. Such complex ponderings are reflected in each of the carefully cut forms produced by the artist.
Harmony, as well as a concurrent sense of tension generated by a combination with forms that by definition reject the very notion of coexistence (thus inversion). Such is the overall “gestaltism” of the glass art sculptures of Ilja Bílek. His interpretation of the harmonic form engenders pleasant sensations in observers – albeit not ones related to shallow likability. The combination of such a seemingly banal and common feature of glass art (its attractiveness), including in its subsequently cut-glass manifestations, can not be said to belong to Bílek’s style. For that, he is far too noble an artist. The artist avoids trite glass effects, instead always giving priority to the unusual and unexpected. As a kind of glass artist aristocrat of his age, Bílek is almost contemptuously indifferent to current trends, even ones that could be described as seductively authoritative, such as those pioneered by his former teacher Professor Stanislav Libenský. Bílek has adopted only a few principles from his former mentor: a responsibility towards passing on traditions to a younger generation, professional discipline, and perhaps also a positive attitude towards drawing and painting. As an artist (and perhaps also as a person) Bílek gives the impression of a rational ascetic, who, despite his passions, manages to maintain a sense of calm detachment. And yet Bílek reveals his sense for inversion – that his inherent English reserve, or “poker face” only masks his own emotions – ones that nonetheless fester beneath the surface and provide endless artistic inspiration.
As someone who rejects obviously alluring forms, Bílek resisted, for example, a 1970-80s glass art trend towards prisms and cubes – one which even gained international attention. Rejecting the styles laid out by older contemporaries such as Yan Zoritchak, Marian Karel, Aleš Vašíček, and Oldřich Plíva, Bílek opted to not go down the path of so-called “prismic sculptures”. He also turned his nose up at other successful, albeit short-lived fads. After graduating in the 1970s, Bílek decided to chart his own path: rather than contrasting his subject matters with geometric components, Bílek’s works integrate ingenious compositional solutions in association with curving lines. In so doing, the artist discovered a longstanding affiliation for examining contrasts, as evidenced in much of Bílek’s works thereafter.
To this day Bílek’s works profess a particular kind of inversion that rests somewhere between the rigidly geometric and organic, for example the creation of cast opaque glass platters. Nor does Bílek waver in combining glass with other “lowly” materials such as plastics. Nonetheless, the artist remains primarily a modernist – one who feels no need to relate either internal emotions or day-to-day events, or to create “glass Facebook entries” or to illustrate his thoughts on the issues of the day, as is often the case with postmodernists. Rather, the stories evident in Bílek’s works choose to tell a different kind of story – one focused on universal phenomena, symbols of human relationships, and the principles of existence….
Ilja Bílek is among the most significant contemporary Czech glass artists working today. He is also a celebrated art teacher in his own right, having taught several generations of up-and-coming glass artists at Jan Evangelista Purkyně University in Ústí nad Labem (UJEP) from the mid-1990s. Ilja Bílek’s works are a regular feature of numerous collections of displayed glass art, both at home and abroad.
Vendulka Prchalová’s realisations are characterised by a high degree of experimentation and an unorthodox approach to the material, which she bends and shapes in an almost “torturous” way. There is no cruelty in the creative process and the artist’s approach, but rather the need to achieve a certain shape and articulation of one’s own feelings and thoughts, reflecting also societal themes, insecurities, anxieties or desires. In her work she combines glass with other materials such as metal, ink and plaster.
In the autumn of 2022, she graduated from the doctoral program at the Academy of Arts and Crafts in Prague in the Glass Studio under the supervision of Rony Plesl. In her dissertation, Směsi/Mixtures, the author explored innovative concepts of materials and processes for the production of moulds for moulded sculptures. Shortly thereafter, she completed a residency at the Pilchuck Glass School, an international centre for glass education in Washington, USA. She has presented her work in numerous international exhibitions and competitions. Last year, her works were on display at the exhibition Czech Glass, Quo Vadis?!, which was part of Venice Glass Week. During the show, the artist’s works were selected for the exhibition section of The Venice Glass Week HUB Under 35, and she won the main prize of the expert jury for her presentation in this section.
Klára Horáčková’s glass art can be divided into two specific artistic approaches. The first is traditional, while the second is conceptual. Horáčková’s conceptual glass art breaks free of traditional notions of glass as a material that is closer to the world of design than experimental art. Which is why her works cannot be characterised by a single visual style or a single linear line of development. Rather, they are defined by experimentation that enables a wide scope of artistic expression.
The most recent set of art objects and vases by Klára Horáčková goes under the name of Vrstvy (Layers) and ties in to past series titled Evolution and Artificial Landscapes, which utilised the technologies of fusing and moulding prefabricated glass tubes. The principle of layering repeating elements, in this case in the form of icy greenish sheet glass, places these objects precisely on the threshold between art and design. On the one hand, the works fulfil the function of vases, on the other they represent abstract models filled with unusual architectural constructions.
And it is this very diversity of artistic expression by Klára Horáčková, along with an integration of conceptual and classical approaches, that creates a sense of rooted regularity amidst all the experimentation. Her projects represent the overlapping layers of flowing ideas, one after the other, always offering something original and unique.
Klára Horáčková (born 1980) is a graduate of Vladimír Kopecký’s Glass Studio at the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague (UMPRUM), also working there, since 2011, as an expert assistant at the Rony Plesl Glass Studio. Aside from the Czech Republic, in recent years her works have also been displayed in locations such as London, Eindhoven, Paris, Venice and Lommel.
After extensive renovations, the former granary building has acquired a new roof and will open for the first time this summer season with a new exhibition. Under the guidance of architect and actor David Vávra, the Granary’s owners, Lucie Havlová and Tomáš Hendrych, together with photographer Tomáš Princ and a team of collaborators have created an exhibition titled Lemberk: Step by Step, which explores the historic sites in the Granary’s vicinity, both well-known and obscure.
Fourteen Eyelids and Roof Renovation
Last year, the Lemberk Granary project first came to attention by presenting a pre-season exhibition of sculptures by Čestmír Suška. It was, however, confined only to the outside of the building; the poor condition of the roof meant it was not safe to be inside the building. After the reconstruction work, which took place mainly in the autumn of last year and continues this year, the roof is secured. A company specializing in the repair of historic buildings completely replaced the roof covering, including the ridge tiles, battens and gutters on the south-west side. The roof truss components have also been repaired in the process, by cutting out and replacing parts of the roof ties. The reconstruction also involved the replacement of the skew rafters, damaged tie beams, and the completely missing wall plate. The brickwork of cornices was repaired and completed.
What other renovations have been planned for the near future? Depending on the amount of funding available for the next stage, plans include demolition of the original entrance and installing oak doors, and possibly flooring refurbishment on the ground floor. A probe has uncovered an old wooden floor underneath the existing floorboards. Plans are also in the work for building sanitary facilities, cleaning the well, adding toilets with a shower stall, and installing a sewage pipe with a septic tank, all of which is crucial for making the building habitable again.
Photo: Tomáš Hendrych – An eyelid dormer is a low and wide dormer with a curved roof and no sides, where the roof covering is gradually curved up and over the dormer in a flattened bell curve. Creating a dormer is a difficult enough task for a roofer; but building an eyelid dormer is a challenge that requires a true master of the roofing craft. The roof tiles need to be adjusted and laid in such a way as to prevent water from seeping under the tiles and causing the roof to leak. Similarly, battens need to ensure a smooth transition of the dormer’s arch to the roof surface.