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News > Plurality of Identity In the Works of Zdenek Lhotsky

Plurality of Identity In the Works of Zdenek Lhotsky

Sylva Petrova 26 May, 2017

The narrow field of specialisation that we see all around us, including in art and the commercial strategies of galleries, is a contemporary characteristic. However, artistic creativity behaves in exactly the opposite manner—it is a universal ability. If a person is a true artist, then he is able to and in fact prioritizes work in a variety of materials, i.e. in various artistic disciplines. That is the case of the world-renowned Czech glass-maker Zdenek Lhotsky (b. 1956). His interests are plural, and include a broad field of design, free forms (in glass that means bowls, steles, stained glass, reliefs, giant containers and smaller objects with graphic motifs), then architectural work and also creations in other materials such as metal, paper and textile (sculptures, prints and drawings).

Line beside line forming parquet patterns, geometric compositions with spiral hatches on disks and a color tint, similar to what Marcel Duchamp made with his Rotoreliefs. All this is the visual essence of Zdenek Lhotsky’s drawings on paper. Lines play an important role, and are thus drawn by pen, marker or pencil. These are geometric images that do not belong to the so-called geometry movement. The difference between Lhotsky’s drawings and geometry as a program is that for the author geometry is not the goal but the means of creation. A natural means, because he has the creation of certain geometric and repeating graphic elements or even patterns in his creative genes. These and other works showcase Lhotsky’s specific “language” which makes the author easily identifiable. Even though Lhotsky’s way of working is entirely unique, he is subconsciously close to the European Art Deco movement; he has Czech Cubism under his skin, and his patterns are often compared to the glories of Vienna Workshops from Austria. That is another bonus of an artist who combines originality and resonance with the values of European cultural heritage.



View of the ball pen drawings in the exhibition "Zdenek Lhotsky, Drawings and Glass," BBLA Gallery, March 29 - April 24, 2017. Photographs by Katerina Kyselica.

Although it may not seem so at first glance, the drawings arise highly spontaneously as a means of peculiar meditation, or relaxation, the joy of an event and a personal ritual. They are also liberating for the artist because, unlike glass, they can appear here and now. They do not need to undergo the complex execution process typical for glass works, which can take days or even months. Although Lhotsky has glass production firmly under control as an experienced designer and technologist and can predict the result, realistically he has to wait a long time. It is “deferred gratification—delayed feedback.” A drawing arises as an authentic imprint of a specific time, it is the record of a momentary mood. The meaning of the content of these drawings can be, like with all abstractions, a little unclear. However, what is important is that the tranquillity that emerges from them appears as the joy of being and creating, which is transmitted to everybody who encounters them. 

Dr. Sylva Petrova, curator, Professor Emeritus, University of Sunderland, Great Britain



View of the glass reliefs in the exhibition "Zdenek Lhotsky, Drawings and Glass," BBLA Gallery, March 29 - April 24, 2017. Photographs by Katerina Kyselica.




Bohemian Benevolent & Literary AssociationHospodaThe National Czech and Slovak MuseumAmerican Friends of the Czech RepublicCzech CenterConsulate General