Czechmade is an exhibition at London’s Flow gallery featuring the work of three young Czech glass artist teachers, Anna Polanská, Lada Semecká and Martin Hlubucek, and their students.
The curator, Yvonna Demczynska, chose work from the most famous schools in the Czech Republic – Železný Brod secondary school and the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design – to demonstrate to continuity and progression of traditional glass making into a contemporary art form.
Polanská’s chunky glass vases are derived from elements of the landscape. “‘Waterfall II’ is inspired by a waterfall over mountain rocks and the vase ‘Under Waterfall’ indicates the power of plants and their longing to grow up,” she says. “The vase ‘Deepness’ is about the water and its mystery.”
She moulds the initial shape by creating a wax model used to make a mould; when the mould is placed in a kiln, the wax evaporates and the molten glass is poured in – also know as the “Cire perdue” or “lost wax” method. Polanská then cuts into the glass to create the final piece. The surface of her work is in places quite angular, in contrast to textured areas of pattern imprints. Air bubbles ripple through the vases as if they contain fizzy water.
Semecká has created fluid bowls and a plate with extremely smooth surfaces. “I worked with simple horizontal plans of geometrical round forms,” she says. Her work challenges the use of glass as a material, using it to create solid three-dimensional shapes. Using a similar technique to Polanská, her objects are mould-melted, then cut. “Then they are again deformed in the kiln, with minimum of using moulding again. Both techniques emphasise the softness of the form.”
Czechmade is at the Flow Gallery in London until 15 March.
above left Rebubbles by Anna Polanská
above right Deepness by Anna Polanská
Zóne I by Anna Polanská
Sirena – red by Lada Semecká
Platter by Lada Semecká