20.1.2015 - 25.1.2015
It Is Always Tea Time In Wonderland
Loan exhibit of contemporary Czech design at the New York Ceramics and Glass Fair. Organized by the Czech Center in collaboration with the New York Ceramic and Glass Fair and the Bohemian Benevolent and Literary Association
Exhibition info: http://www.newyorkceramicsandglassfair.com/loan-exhibit
Kristýna Bratránková www.tynavina.cz
Jakub Berdych www.qubus.cz
Lucie Kovačiková www.luciakovacikova.sk/sk
Radka Kovačiková www.radkakovacikova.com
Jolana Sornerová www.jolanas.cz/svetlusky_cz.html
Helena Tapajnová www.helenatapajnova.com
Maxim Velčovský www.qubus.cz
Hana Vinklárková (ARTISTKA)
The show opens to the public on Wednesday, January 21, and runs through Sunday, January 25. Hours are 11am to 7pm and on Sunday, 11am to 4pm.
Ticket price with catalogue is $20 per person, and can be used throughout the duration of the fair.
“The table was a large one, but the three were all crowded together at one corner of it: `No room! No room!' they cried out when they saw Alice coming. `There's plenty of room!' said Alice indignantly, and she sat down in a large arm-chair at one end of the table. “…
„It's always six o'clock now.'
A bright idea came into Alice's head. `Is that the reason so many tea-things are put out here?' she asked.
`Yes, that's it,' said the Hatter with a sigh: `it's always tea-time, and we've no time to wash the things between whiles.'
`Then you keep moving round, I suppose?' said Alice.
`Exactly so,' said the Hatter: `as the things get used up.'
`But what happens when you come to the beginning again?' Alice ventured to ask.
-Excerpt from Alice in Wonderland, A Mad Tea-Party, chapter VII
The exhibition, It is Always Tea Time in Wonderland, is on display during the New York Ceramics and Glass Fair at the Bohemian National Hall as a special focus loan exhibit. It features Czech and Slovak designers, who are using the everyday objects as a starting point of their explorations to newly recreate and reimaging the doors in to the world of fairytales and fantasy. The exhibition combines established designers such as Jakub Berdych, Radka Kovačiková, Věra Panková and Maxim Velčovský with an emerging younger generation of artists, who are introduced in the US for the first time: Kristýna Bratránková, Lucie Kovačiková, Jolana Sornerová, Helena Tapajnová, and Hana Vinklárková.
The exhibition is inspired by the story of Alice in Wonderland at the Mad Tea-Party, where Alice meats March Hare, Hatter and Dormouse, who caught in a standstill, are continuously living in tea time. They are asking unanswerable riddles and recite nonsensical poetry, while endlessly switching places by the table in an attempt to get to cleaner tableware.
The tableware by Hana Vinklárková has a hunting quality of an aquarelle painting. She uses readymade pottery like a book to tell stories from her imagination and memories. In her Sediments series the paintings of various creatures resemble coffee stains in used cups and bowls. Vinklárková plays with the visual similarity to reminiscent the tradition of tasseograpy in foretelling the future or revealing insight about the past.
Her Tower piece consist of painting stretching over seven pieces of white dinner plates to portray exercising figures in a playful puzzle like set. The Forest still-life series evokes an eerie atmosphere of forgotten forest cemetery, which she paints with blue color paint, traditionally used in the Czech Onion pottery.
Helena Tapajnová (b.1991) often deconstructs prefabricated ceramic decorations to create new pieces with different functions. She sometimes brutally amputates parts and combines them with completely opposing objects to play and reveal the absurdity of its esthetic. In the Lamps series she uses sculptures of dogs as electric lamps, but substitutes their heads with electrical bulbs to create functional lights. The story of deer is a set for sweets, cake cover and a sugar bowl, made of blown glass and sandblasted porcelain combining realistic figures of a dear and siblings with minimal body like shapes. It recalls a folk story of a brother and a sister, in which the brother after drinking from a spring transforms into a deer.
Tapajnová’s Deer’s Dialogue is a drip like shape flower vase, with two deer heads on its ends. It can swing from side to side bringing up playground childhood memories. There are several slots, which can be used to put flowers there, to make it look like a meadow with two dears grazing.
The Play by Lucie Kovačiková is installation made of a collection of various cuddly teddy bears and other creatures, which look like stuffed animals but they are made of ceramic. Their eyes, same as used in the toy industry, create a lively but also little bit melancholic expression. The shift in material from the soft plush to the hard porcelain creates the feeling of a childhood photograph frozen in time. The beings are gathering by the fire, sitting on a decorative oriental carpet, and seem to be telling each other a story evoking the atmosphere of the Arabic fairy tale One Thousand and One nights.
The head of a white Rabbit by Kristýna Bratránková is unsettling by its scale. The cute animal face gains a sense of monstrosity by its enlargement. The fact that the rest of the body is missing and we can see only the decapitated head, in a human scale, adds to the spookiness of the piece.
Maxim Velčovský (b.1976), one of the Czech leading designers, is currently the Head of the Ceramics and Porcelain Department at Academy of Applied Arts in Prague. Most of his work involves reimagining everyday objects in to new forms by using a specific touch of humor. The hand-painted, porcelain candle holder called Little Joseph looks like a lonely head of a small baby-boy left behind. It can be seen as a kind of “Halloween” version of a doll for boys. The candle drippings will gradually create a new layer of „hair”, varying in style by the use from sweet to sinister, from pure white or beeswax locks, to hair in several shades of the rainbow. And if you prefer to keep him bald just use the dripless candles.
Jakub Berdych (*1971), together with Maxim Velčovský, is the founder of the renowned Czech design shop Qubus in Prague in 2002. The Kafkanistán, a giant candle holder, is a vertical tower like structure consisting of stocked up porcelain pottery, whit opaque glazing and partially gilded details. On its top is the head of a small boy Little Joseph that holds a candle. The name of the piece together with its surrealistic and absurd composition refers to Franz Kafka, one of the most influential writers of the 20th Century, whose work is filled with the themes of physical and psychological alienation, parent–child conflict, labyrinths of bureaucracy, and mystical transformations.
With a stylish modern twist on a classic theme the Forest Folly Collection created by Věra Panková for ARTĚL, pays homage to the centuries-old tradition of hunting in the Bohemian countryside. ARTĚL is a luxury crystal glass company founded in 1998 known for striking collection of barware and decorative items handmade by Czech artisans. The Forest Folly Collection is comprised of six colored glasses and a carafe, each with different hunting-themed motifs - Stag, Hare, Fox, Duck, Wild Boar, and Labrador with Pheasant. The rustically elegant mouth-blown glass features a hand-engraved image of an animal surrounded by a delicately intertwined thicket of oak branches and centered above a crossed pair of hunting rifles with a single oak leaf on the bottom. It is inspired by an Art Nouveau engraving that ARTĚL founder and director Karen Feldman found in her country house in southern Bohemia.
FireFlies by Jolana Šornerová (*1985) are interactive, ceiling lights, which open their 3D printed plastic wings once they detect movement in the space, they also change light depending on the visitor’s height. The installation resembles the magical atmosphere in the summer, when the FireFlies are swarming in the woods, lightening the dark nights around the St. Johns Eve.
In the Preset series Radka Kovačíková (*1982) uses Goldsmith technique to engrave mirrors enclosed in the iPad frame. The drawings inside the frames, which are also visible from behind, document the author’s short-time sketches and impressions during virtual conversations. The series Presence is posing the question of what is real and what is virtual. We use technological devices to transfer our feelings, and thoughts on / under / through the screen joining, strengthening contacts and meetings. Our face is reflected in the monitor, but we are interested in the world behind the monitor, behind the mirror similar to the Carroll’s story, where Wonderland is a reflection of the word turned upside down; where cause and effect have a nonliteral character; cake should be given away first, then cut up; he who wants to remain in place, must run.
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