About the Academy of Arts, Architecture & Design in Prague (UMPRUM)
The Academy of Arts, Architecture & Design in Prague was founded in 1885. Throughout its existence it has ranked among the best educational institutions in the country. It boasts a number of successful graduates who have gone on to become respected professionals, garnering acclaim beyond the Czech Republic. The school is divided into the departments of architecture, design, fine arts, applied arts, graphic and theory and history of art. Each department is divided into studios according to their specialist area. The studios are all led by leading figures of the Czech art scene. Twice a year the school opens to the public for a presentation of student work, entitled “Artsemestr”. Each year the school organises over 15 exhibitions, half of which are shown abroad. Prague UMPRUM is the only Eastern European school that figures in the indices of prestigious European and world art schools.
Colours of Transparency
A glass transparency may have many colours or none. This ambivalent nature of glass, which is both firm yet fragile, is analogous to the principles of the Studio of Glass at the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague and to the installation that the Studio has prepared for the London Design Fair.
One may find examples of pure design alongside conceptual artwork; however, each lacks the essentials of the other. The Studio of Glass continually and intentionally crosses and conceals the boundaries between applied and fine arts and aims not only to craft glass but to artistically disrupt it. We perceive the medium of glass as one of the most powerful means to express creativity, where colour, aesthetically speaking, represents both a defensive and offensive weapon.
The ubiquitous ambiguity of glass may also be found in the design of the Studio’s exhibition space itself. Spray-paint obscures the view but simultaneously accentuates and highlights the space and challenges the murky distinction between vandalism and art as well as the performative act of spraying paint, which can be done by either human hand or automatic machine.
The unique quality of a paradox lies in its ability to juxtapose seemingly contradictory but at the same time truthful phenomena and, consequently, to create a new frame of reference where a limiting, single point of view cannot exist. The paradoxes intrinsic to the material of glass and to the Studio’s work stimulate the imagination and have the potential to produce new and original ways of thinking about art and design.
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