(Ivo Křen) Visitors still have an opportunity to see a unique exhibition that presents the development of modern designer forms of metallurgically shaped glass in the 20th and 21st centuries in the Východočeské muzeum in Pardubice until January 10, 2010. The exhibition includes 630 exhibits and glass designs from over 120 designers that guide visitors through the history of the legendary glass factory in Škrdlovice stretching back 68 years.
The Beránek glassworks has achieved a privileged position in Czech history. Its founder, Emanuel Beránek, who was a master glassmaker and designer, collaborated with renowned artists in the late 1940s and onward with the aim to launch glass products of artistic quality onto the market. The glass factory followed this tradition after 1950, when it passed to administration of Ústředí uměleckých řemesel.
The exhibition presents the first successful samples designed by E. Beránek and V. Lichtágová in the 1940s and early 1950s of the silky “spumescent” glass. The legendary form of this metallurgically shaped glass, which emphasizes the expression of the original formability of flowing glass, asymmetry, and a dynamic formal variability depending on the change of light, came into existence in Škrdlovice during the second half of the 1950s. This period includes such designers as J. Kotík, M. Velíšková, M. Stáhlíková, E. Beránek, and J. Beránek. Young artists who started cooperating with the glass factory during the late 1950s and 1960s, such as J. Žertová, L. Blecha, Z. Strobachová, V. Kopecký, V. Jelínek, M. Svobodová, and many others, broke through with a completely different expression. Their work prefers a distinctive colouring and is derived from the shape of a blown bubble, often of a very subtle form. Formal modesty, material sturdiness, and the use of fascinating optical effect of bubbles in glass are typical for glass designs from the 1970s and 1980s. The new concept is represented by designs from F. Vízner, M. Svoboda, P. Ježek, K. Wünsch, S. Libenský, and many other artists who are world-famous for their fine art production of glass sculptures and objects. After 1990, the glass factory was restituted to the Beránek family, giving glass designs in the manufacturing programme a different character once again. The exhibited production of the last twenty years is playful, full of colour structures, bubbles in glass, and a whole range of glass effects that are enabled by various methods of metallurgical work. J. Exnar, J. Tišljar, I. Šrámková, and M. Machat have had a significant impact on the production with their remarkable designs together with master glassmakers from the glass factory team, e.g. K. Malivánek, J. Pospíchal, M. Nosek, and R. Kolbábek, which represents an unprecedented trend in the history of the glass factory.
The production of the Beránek glassworks in Škrdlovice ranks among the golden treasures of the modern history of Czech original design of metallurgically shaped glass. It is a display of the possibilities for forming this burning flowing substance and the craftsmanship of glass makers. An illustrative installation of an authentic glassworks environment with many tools and molds is also part of the presentation. A visit to this exceptional exhibition in the Východočeské muzeum in Pardubice represents an aesthetical experience for collectors of Škrdlovice glass pieces and the public at large. It is a sad reality that such an extensive and representative exhibition of samples from both the historical and existing sample rooms could be organized only thanks to the fact that the glass factory had to close down at the end of last year.
The exhibition is open every day except Mondays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
František Vízner, 1980