Prague – The Museum of Applied Arts in Prague today opened an exhibition commemorating this year’s anniversary of the birth of the glass artist Stanislav Libenský (1921 to 2002). It is called Via lucis (The Way of Light) and presents the works that Libenský created with his working and life partner Jaroslava Brychtová (1924 to 2020) for sacral spaces. Visitors will see their windows to the St. Vitus Cathedral, for the monastery of St. George or later windows for the castle chapel of Brno’s Špilberk.
The exhibition is part of a long-term exhibition of the Pleiades of Glass, which presents the part of glassmaking from the second half of the 20th and the beginning of the 21st century, for which the name author’s glass was adopted. It can take the form of objects, sculptures, sculptures, stained glass, installations, works in architecture and can also exist in the form of site-specific installations. In the second last half of the century, Czechoslovak artists of world success reaped with original glass, and the Libenský-Brychtová duo are among the leading representatives of this art.
The curator of the exhibition, Sylva Petrová, told ČTK today that the works of this pair are intended for architecture and are evaluated as a fundamental contribution to the development of the phenomenon of world author’s glass. According to her, the peak among them are the works they created during the reconstruction of the sacral spaces, where their works complementing the Gothic buildings make their great feeling for light stand out. Both of them performed these tasks not only artistically, but also unorthodoxly: they saw them more as a general symbol of spiritual life than a specific liturgy, she said.
The installation shows large windows or stained glass in the chapel of St. Wenceslas in the Cathedral of St. Vitus at Prague Castle from 1964 to 1968 and a window in the chapel of St. Anny in the nearby monastery of St. Jiří from 1974 and 1975. It tells about the origin and character of seven stained glass windows designed and realized by artists in the castle chapel in Horšovské Týn between 1987 and 1991 cathedrals and presents the history of eight windows in the castle chapel of Brno’s Špilberk from 2001 to 2003. in addition to other documents, they also present two preparatory huge paintings by Libenský, which indicate the actual size of the windows. The seven-meter-high paintings were acquired by the Museum of Applied Arts in its collections this year.
In their stained glass windows, Libenský and Brychtová also used a new technology of built-in glass relief in open forms. The exhibition thus shows the lesser-known work of artists as well as the combination of experimental glassmaking and reconstructed significant historical spaces.
There are only three glass works in the installation of the Via Lucis exhibition. The two largest UPMs received a loan from the glass company Lasvit, other objects can be seen in the exhibition halls of the Pleiades of Glass 1946 – 2018.
The title exhibition Via Lucis – The Way of Light is taken from the work of the same name by Jan Amos Comenius, which, according to the curator of power and the permanent validity of the light legacy of these two glass personalities.