Editorial Designum 4/2012
Glass, ceramics, jewel – creative areas, where you might clearly see that dividing art into free and applied one is anachronistic. It is no news, it even is a generally acknowledged fact, and despite of that practice (and also theory) constantly props upon these categories. Considering inter-disciplinarity, multi-genreness and openness of contemporary visual culture, it is a common strategy to delimitate oneself against such essential categorization. Regardless of the terminology, glassmakers, ceramics-makers and jewellers, just like other artists and designers in Slovakia, have exactly the same worries – find relevant assertion within their profession and communicate results of their work in such a way, that they could bring not only personal and community satisfaction.
What brings the copy of Designum devoted to glass, ceramics and jewel then? The journal turns attention to the Slovak scene, and it does turn it there in this copy– it maps the actual course of events, it selects interesting historical and contemporary personalities. In spite of that, it would be useful to give more space in the journal to interesting and progressive foreign projects; if we only look at our Czech neighbours, for instance the Prague VŠUP at Salone Internazionale del Mobile in Milan, Italy could be worth mentioning. Under the title of Collaboratory 2012, results of individual studios with Czech industry were presented there. Architecture of the exhibition was designed by Eva Eisler and her students of K. O. V. Studio, there were also representatives of the Ceramics and Porcelain Studio, and the results of the cooperation with Kavalierglass Glass-Works were presented by the Glass Studio student Jakub Petr.
The structure of Designum is set up to give space to students and professionals, entrepreneurial activities and also independent brand names. Student activities in the journal are represented by the VŠVU Department of Applied Arts, Bratislava and its three studios – those of ceramics, jewel and glass. There are authorial, insider projects, that prevail among professionals, after all, the only relevant company, which (when focusing on glass and ceramics) cooperates with designers in Slovakia, is Rona Glass-Works. It is very nice, that new independent designer studios, brand names and galleries are established constantly, their functioning, however, is in most cases very fragile and insecure. Enthusiasm and energy put into establishment of their own brand name or gallery alternates with a toilsome fight for existential survival. What’s more, ceramics and glass-makers in Slovakia lead a constant fight with „domestic“ conditions of production; absence of a functioning inter-connection to industry can be clearly seen in exhausting and costly realization. Therefore, the drawer with Slovak art design / applied arts is so full, and although even for example the production of Czech Křehký Gallery or Daniel Piršč Porcelain Studio is labelled like this, they are differentiated mostly by means of a way how to realize designers. designs on a professional level, and by means of a strategy how to successfully offer them to a customer. Therefore it is very good that it is Ceramics and Glass Studio of VŠVU, which is nowadays led by people with intensive experience of industry / manufacture production, and they have a real link to it. Therefore, particularly the modranska.sk Project of the designer Jakub Liška seems very hopeful so far . It combines constructed technological and personal background, clear marketing plan and quality products designed in cooperation with designers. This is just early days for the company, so any evaluations are premature.
It is evident, that Slovak jewel, ceramics and glass scene is getting more and more dynamic and larger, especially due to student and independent activities. The only necessary thing is to find way how to meaningfully help this movement. I am not saying anything new or inventive, but without a systemic support, functioning interconnection to industry, without interest of a larger public, media, and specialist criticism, will authors alone, schools or inner groups of supporters not sustain it in the long term.