14. 4. 2023
The world’s most important design showcase will take place between 17–23 April 2023, and this year will feature a significant presence of Czech designers. The unique Made by Fire project is headed for the world’s design capital, bringing a representative selection of recent and contemporary glass, porcelain and ceramics works, all made in the furnaces and kilns of Czechia. The project was prepared by The Moravian Gallery in Brno in collaboration with Designblok festival and aims to explore the limits of applied art and its production within the context of pervasive social change. The works of forty progressive Czech makers will be exhibited within the architectural space developed by designer Maxim Velčovský and edit! architects.
Glass and porcelain are something of a national treasure. They have a long tradition and an eminent position in Czech culture. In light of recent social, ecological and geopolitical crises, the design and production of glass and porcelain are faced with existential questions about their current direction, their significance and future development. The Made by Fire exhibition provides tentative answers by means of nearly one hundred exhibited works and original pieces from featured glass producers and exporters, foremost Czech porcelain works, major players on the Czech design scene, as well as the up-and-coming generation of young artists. The unique exhibition project will be featured as part of the Milano Design Week at the exclusive Triennale Milano institution, which has been setting the world’s design trends since the 1960s.
The project maps the work of over 40 Czech artists within four thematic sections: Industry, Adaptation, Identity and Experiment. The selection of original works is neither encyclopedic nor longitudinal but rather aims to represent particular contemporary ideas. Made by Fire mostly focuses on young talent and aims to promote networking and foster international connection, but naturally also includes the works of some of the most established names in Czech design.
The exhibition entrance is framed by paintings of Czech factories symbolizing the Czech industrial landscape. This collection of historical works also comprises five new works by painter Dominik Forman. This installation emphasizes the fact that Czechia is one of the few countries able to produce its own designs, process its materials and produce the products, all in one place. The mastery of Czech craftsmanship is represented by the brands Bomma, Brokis, Kavalierglass, Lasvit, Moser, Thun 1794, Preciosa and others. These brand names are balanced by artistic works and limited-edition collections by independent artists. The exhibition connects the work of legends like Rony Plesl, Eva Eisler, Jiří Pelcl, Lucie Koldová, Jan Plecháč, Daniel Piršč, Lada Semecká, Jakub Berdych Karpelis or Antonín Tomášek with the works of students and fresh graduates.
Made by Fire also focuses on the challenges and turbulent events of recent times, such as rising production expenses, the struggle against cheap products from Asia, sustainability, and the cultural significance of the craft. It asks questions about the future and viability of glassmaking and porcelain and ceramics production. The featured designers and studios, many of whom have recently received positions of Artistic Directors at major brands, can use their creativity and innovative approach to help save and elevate the entire business, as well as stretch the limits of craft tradition and modernization.
The Made by Fire exhibition is also exceptional in that some of the works were created exclusively for this event. Among them is František Jungvirt’s project Birth of the Future Behind Glass, where the artist reinterprets three traditional vases by deconstructing, changing and updating their classical provenance. Other pieces made specially for the exhibition include the glasses and vase made by LLEV studio, which were blown into a mould made of mycelium, Elis Monsport’s object Folds II, and the Silica Feast light collage made by DECHEM studio, which pays homage to the fascinating diversity of various types of glass and experimentally combines them into a wall-mounted patchwork of light.
The exhibition has been curated by Danica Kovářová and Eva Slunečková. “I am immensely glad to have this opportunity to participate on such a great showcase of Czech glass and porcelain – it is unique in terms of the number of exhibited pieces, the exclusive location, but also in its contextualization of design as a vehicle for critique and a mirror held up to society. We can see this in the featured studio works, which play such a central role in contemporary Czech design. The studio functions as a free space for experimentation and oftentimes initiates discussion about seminal issues. It creates an important substrate which benefits the entire industry and allows it to grow,” says Eva Slunečková about the curators’ approach.
The exhibition uses various media, and features works which stand out from the common glass, porcelain and ceramics production. This for example includes the Billboard made of glass by Klára Horáčková, which mirrors the entire exhibition, the light installation of a car wreck brought over from a Ukrainian war zone made by Maxim Velčovský, the Entropy video by Vendula Kvíz Radostová, which explores the birth of new forms from the ruins of the old, or the live performance Mirror Man by glass artist and sculptor Stanislav Müller.
“What was most surprising for me in preparing this exhibition was that when we made a list of the seminal themes and issues we aimed to illustrate by the select works, we started seeing just how the original pieces and their narratives overlap, how fluidly they referenced the overarching categories. This proved to me their relevance and contemporary topicality,” says curator Danica Kovářová.
The exhibition’s architecture was conceived by designer Maxim Velčovský and the edit! architects studio. The objects made of delicate materials starkly contrast with the exhibition’s industrial setting. “In preparing the exhibition, our role was mostly to compose the roughly one hundred exhibition items into a limited space in a way which would give each piece adequate space, but would also fit into the wider concept. While designing it, we were careful to keep in mind the necessary re-use of the objects made for the exhibition so that they could be used even after the exhibition finishes: that’s why we placed the works on plinths made of barrels which will then be used for other things,” describes Vítězslav Danda of the edit! architects.
The Made by Fire exhibition also presents a publication of the same name which will present the individual works and authors and frame their work within a broader context. It features original photographs made by the acclaimed photographer Hana Knížová, which react to the questions posed by the individual exhibition themes and constitute another artistic layer of meaning for the entire project. The Made by Fire catalogue is a stand-alone source of inspiration and information which provides the reader with an experience virtually comparable to seeing the exhibition itself.
After the Milano Design Week finishes, the exhibition will once again open in the autumn for Prague’s international Designblok festival (4–8 October 2023) and will subsequently move to the Museum of Applied Arts of The Moravian Gallery in Brno (17 November 2023 – 31 August 2024).
The Made by Fire project was made possible by the support of the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic, Mr. Petr Fiala, the Minister of Culture of the Czech Republic, Mr. Martin Baxa, and the Minister of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic, Mr. Jozef Síkela. The exhibition and publications are realized as part of the project “Made by Fire,” project number 0215000060, with the financial support of the Ministry of Culture from the National Recovery Plan’s Mobility II program.
Exhibition title: Made by Fire
Address: Triennale Milano, Viale Alemagna 6, Milano
Date: 17–23 April 2023, 11 AM – 9 PM
On Tuesday, 18 April 2023 the Triennale Milano will host the opening of all featured exhibitions. The exhibition opening of Made by Fire will feature a guided tour as well as the art performance Mirror Man by Stanislav Müller.
Luba Bakičová, Luisa Bělohlávková, Jakub Berdych Karpelis, DECHEM (Jakub Janďourek and Michaela Tomišková), Eva Eisler, Dominik Forman, Hidden Factory (Eva Pelechová and Gabriel Vach), Johana Hnízdilová, Klára Horáčková, Tereza Hrušková, Prokop Chludil, Martin Janecký, František Jungvirt, Joo Kawasumi, Lucie Koldová, Live Longer (Adéla Fejtková and Silvie Luběnová), Zdeněk Lhotský, LLEV (Marcel Mochal and Eva Mochalová), Monika Martykánová, Elis Monsport, Stanislav Müller, Jakub Nepraš, Lukáš Novák, Olgoj Chorchoj (Michal Froněk and Jan Němeček) and Jiří Černický, Milan Pekař, Jiří Pelcl, Johan Pertl, Jakub Petr, Dominika Petrtýlová, Daniel Piršč, Jan Plecháč and Henry Wielgus, Rony Plesl, Tadeáš Podracký, Vendula Kvíz Radostová, Lada Semecká, Tereza Sluková, Markéta Špundová, Marieta Tedenacová, Antonín Tomášek, Quynh Trang Tran, Gabriel Vach, David Valner, Maxim Velčovský, Lenka Záhorková, Adam Železný
Thank you for the loan and preparation of exhibits:
Authors and companies G. Benedikt Group, BMRC Group (Bomma, Rückl), Brokis, DECHEM Studio, Hidden Factory, Janecký Studio, Lasvit, Lhotský studio, Live Longer, LLEV, Moser, Olgoj Chorchoj, Preciosa Lighting, Profil Media, Signal Festival, SKLO PETR , Studio Qubus, Thun 1794 and private collectors.
Organized by The Moravian Gallery in Brno
Expert collaboration: Designblok, Prague international design festival
Professional guarantors: Jan Press, Director of The Moravian Gallery in Brno; Jana Zielinski, Director of the Designblok festival; Jiří Macek, Creative Director of the Designblok festival
Expert consultant: Stephan Hamel
Exhibition curators: Danica Kovářová, Eva Slunečková
Exhibition concept and design, author cooperation: Maxim Velčovský
Exhibition design and architecture: Vítězslav Danda, edit! architects
Graphic design: Lukáš Kijonka
Photographer: Hana Knížová