Thursday 17th March 2016
7.15pm (refreshments from 6.30pm)
Image: Jaroslava Brychtova and Stanislav Libensky's 1962
decorative glass screen for the lobby of the
International Hotel , Brno (photograph Rebecca Bell)
'The Pursuit of Exceptional Typicality: Glass-Making in Communist Czechoslovakia,
Through a series of glass-making projects in Communist Czechoslovakia, this lecture explores the pursuits of designers and practitioners from the late 1940s to 1960s. These projects resulted in figurines, animation, exhibitions and works for architectural contexts, demonstrating ways in which artists navigated requirements to produce new work that responded to ideological requirements within State-funded contexts, whilst attempting to maintain the creative integrity and development of the artist’s practice. With its rich and complex national heritage in this geographical region, Czech glass was often used as a form of political propaganda under Communism. Within artistic circles in Czechoslovakia, it was a site of debate and experimentation and an insight into how the artist and maker could explore their identity and purpose in relation to socialist design.
Rebecca Bell is a PhD research student in History of Design at the V&A and RCA, and a Lecturer in Contemporary Design Crafts at the University of Hertfordshire. She has lectured and written about art and design for many years, for institutions including UCL, Kingston University and The School of Life. She is a regular writer for Slashstroke magazine. Rebecca also worked for 5 years with Art on the Underground, the art commissioning body for London Underground, and was Studio Assistant to Andy Goldsworthy for several years. She has an MA and MPhil in Art History from Glasgow University.