24/01 – 13/03 2020

A Boat Full of Champaigne, Cast, cut and chiseled optical glass, 2018. Photo: Jiří Koudelka

One of the most notable factors in the field of Czech glass art is that each generation produces new creative talent able to generate interest not just among the critics, but also among art lovers and collectors. Vladimir Klein, a graduate of, and subsequently also a director of, the Secondary School of Glassmaking – Kamenický Šenov (SUPŠS), and a student under the noted Czech glass artist Stanislav Libenský at the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague (UMPRUM), is a globally renowned Czech glass artist. He was the first Czech to teach at the prestigious Japanese Toyama City Institute of Glass, which has since become a major hub for artists from the “Heart of Europe”. Klein also spent eight years as the chief designer for major utility glassmaker Crystalex. He continues to frequently teach, lecture and exhibit abroad. All this means a very large portfolio of glass art design, as well as considerable theoretical and practical skills and knowledge.

Orange Balls, Cast and cut optical glass, 2019. Photo: Jiří Koudelka

As a dexterous and inventive cutter of glass, Klein has developed his own method for decorating custom-made optical glass works, cutting surfaces with the aid of a video-assisted hand tool. This leads to the an effective contrast between dynamic clear glass and an irregular coarse structure. Whether creating small, intimate art objects, or large and majestic pieces, Klein’s works never fail to offer an impressive sense of mise-en-scène, dominating the spaces in which they are installed. In his current art collection, the artist utilised fused glass to a significant degree for the first time. Whereas earlier, his cast glass pieces were mainly based around geometric principles, this new technique has enabled the creation of almost naturalistic shapes evoking huge water lily leaves or slices of exotic plant life. By hand cutting, polishing and chiselling, Klein adds the desired internal dimensions and visual depth to his glass art works.

Orange Boat, Cast, cut and chiseled optical glass. 2017. Photo: Jiří Koudelka

Despite working with glass for more than half a century, Vladimir Klein hasn’t come close to recycling past ideas. Rather, his insatiable appetite for creation flows as powerfully as the Danube through the artist’s birthplace back in 1950, namely the Slovak town of Komárno. Indeed, perhaps the clear water, rugged riverbed, and irregular riverbanks dotted with grass and reeds have served as a subconscious inspiration for Klein’s glass art creations.  

Petr Nový

Chief Curator of Museum of Glass and Jewellery in Jablonec nad Nisou

Curator of Galerie Kuzebauch  

A Fallen Bloom, Flat glass, cut and widia chiseled, 2019. Photo: Jiří Koudelka