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Eva Vlčková

Czech Republic, *1966

Glass is a splendid and magical material. It is also treacherous and difficult to work with. Creating from it often requires great self-control and the disposition not to succumb to disappointment when there are setbacks.

Perhaps her long experience with the rules of glassmaking, which in many cases are not possible to overcome with sheer strength, also has a part in shaping the current form of Eva VIcková's work. Her sculptures from the past few years have a mature artistic judgement and a recognizable signature style. Their common trait is a formal austerity, often taken to the edge of minimalism.

The artist utilizes the expressive means of molten glass, but she suppresses surface effects such as excessive lustre or accentuated fragility. Robust modelling and matte surfaces create a very intimate expression of gradually transforming colours and soft light emanating from within the form. Her works embody a perceptible feeling of balanced calm, of palliation and retreating from the agonizing world of dramas. In these times, which often seem to downright adore the self-destructive flaunting of human frailties and degenerate into a parade of a cruelties, dread and savagery of the heart, the works of Eva Vlcková are quests for the absolute opposite poles.

One strain of her work has more or less the vague form of buildings. She models them slowly, sensitively balancing the harmony of the formal compositions, penetrating the masses with rounded depressions or accumulating them into something like closed agglomerations of crystals. The sculptures are vaguely similar to pueblos or ghostly abandoned houses surfacing in the wasteland of the desert.

It is as if projected into her small-scale architectonic forms is a desire to find places of personal safety, where it is possible to turn away from all the commotion and inauspicious goings-on in the world, away from feelings of doubt, confusion and pain. The result is an indeterminate time on the edge of eternity. It awakens a desire to enter into a fantasy, to perceive only oneself, like a pilgrim, and become part of its quiet space. There is a similar effect in the artist's sculptures made of rounded forms. We can see in them archetypal forms of a torso, an egg from which everything emerges. Just the same, they could be solitary boulders on the shore, gradually fretting away from laps of water in a time that exists outside the dimension determined by human lives.

There is a somewhat different feeling in a number of sculptures in which the formal exercise is completely suppressed and their potency is based on a delicate play of light and colour. In the elementary form of a block, a slotted or circular opening glows in whirling perspective.

At other times there is an arrangement of slabs that are transparent at the place where they touch or in the middle of an otherwise impenetrable dark form. The artist constructs these sculptures like passages, like gates at the border between two worlds: the one we are in and the one into which something unknown pulls us.

The work of Eva Vlcková is original and undeniably conducive to concentrated perception. The evidence of the harmony in the environment that surrounds her works is that many people have a strongly felt need to touch the sculptures, which stems from a desire to experience the closest possible contact with them.

Ivo Kren

curator of the collection of glass at the East Bohemian Museum


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