Two shows open at DOX

Glass art by young artists and reflections on Ukraine will run to Nov. 20

Two very different exhibitions have just opened at the DOX Centre for Contemporary Art. The Stanislav Libenský Award presents new works by young international artists working in the field of glass, a medium that the Czech Republic is particularly known for. The second is Reconstruction of Memory, made by artists who had to flee Ukraine due to the political situation in the eastern parts of the county and Crimea. Both shows run to Nov. 20.

The exhibition for the Stanislav Libenský Award presents 30 works from nine countries in a large variety of styles.

The Stanislav Libenský Award, in its ninth year, is named for a Czech glass artist and teacher who died in 2002 and whose works, often made with Jaroslava Brychtová, are in international museum collections. The award is given to an art school student who made a final project in glass.

A jury picked three winners out and gave one special prize. The first prize went to Czech artist Martin Opl, a graduate of the University of Jan Evangelista Purkyně in Ústí nad Labem. His installation Visible and Invisible uses polarized light and was chosen for its work with space, artificial light, and reflection. The first prize includes a three-week stay for the winner at the Pilchuck Glass School in the US.

Second place went to British artist George William Bell, a graduate from the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen. His work Samples of Abstraction was chosen due to its technical qualities and workmanship. The second prize includes a work term at the Ajeto glassworks in Nový Bor and Lindava in the Czech Republic.

Third place went to Slovak artist Patricia Šichmanová, a graduate of the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Bratislava. Her work Liquidity (2017) focuses on the movement of water and its light-related properties. The third prize includes a visit to the AGC Technovation Center in Charleroi, Belgium.

The special prize, which involves an intensive two-week course in the studios of the Corning Museum of Glass in the US, went to Chinese artist Jinya Zhao for her work Foggy.

Other notable pieces includes Sons of the Chinese Dragon by Guang Wen Weng, which combined glass with 3D printing to show five dragons on the palms of hands. American artist Dylan Martinez made an optical illusion called SiO2 / H2O. It seems to be bags filled with water but is glass with an air pocket. Japanese artist Ahaya Fujiwara made glass pieces based on origami called Re-form.

On a more serious note is Reconstruction of Memory. The Russian occupation of Crimea and the military invasion into eastern Ukraine forced 2 million people to flee, leaving behind family photos, heirlooms and other trinkets that marked people's progress in time.

“They are of no use for settling down in a new place. They would not make your new life better. For many years, we’ve been stockpiling those silent witnesses of our existence only to abandon them at a critical moment, thus depriving ourselves of material memories,” the curators said.

One piece uses photos from a flea market to try to re-create those that were left behind. Another used found photos as a basis for a scroll that was traced. This a third made plastic lenticular photos to combine snapshots with blurred images, so the photo seems to change to a hazy memories as the viewer walks by. Social media provided photos of a fourth project, showing various aspects of the town that the artist had to abandon.

Beach pebbles were donated by refugees for a piece called Beach, which creates a small corner of the lost seaside. Another small corner tries to create a typical room with a view out of a window onto a projected street.

This exhibition has been shown twice before and has been expanded and changed each time. It was originally shown in Kyiv in 2016.

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