A review of the Opticality exhibition on Material Times

Jan Frydrych (*1953) did not come from an artistic family, he had imagined a career as a professional photographer, but a visit to the glass school in Nový Bor, where his sister studied glass painting and was the only one in the family to take up art, helped to direct his future. His sophisticated cut and glued objects do not have a reverse and a face, they are strange organisms fed by the reflection of light, optical wonders of the world, in which the often minimalist combination of clear and indigo blue – exceptionally red – glass plays a crucial role. The precision of the execution is breathtaking, a celebration of human skill, unthinkable without the patience of craftsmanship and artistic self-discipline. It is precisely this tight interplay of manual dexterity and creative vision that makes Frydrych’s optical sculptures exceptional examples of artistic craftsmanship elevated to art. He considers his glass sculptures to be models, examples of how he thinks and reflects on art. “I place stories in general basic geometric shapes, they are small architectures that are created using optical glass, color and light, which is unusual because common materials like stone, wood or bronze only allow you to work with the shape, but no one can look inside. But I put something in there that would never be there. That’s it. After I’ve fused the basic shape just in the details, I’ll sand the shape using increasingly finer abrasives until I get the finest texture. Only by grinding and polishing does the optics open up and we see what I’m looking for in the glass, what’s inside.”