SYMPOZIUM 2011

24. 4. - 1. 5. 2011

 

THE WORD OF THE LORD MAYOR

Dear friends and art-lovers,

It is well known that Ostrava is a modern cultural city, with hundreds of cultural activities taking place every day – just see the city’s website or visit the Ostrava Information Service. The city’s cultural life includes a wide variety of exhibitions showcasing many different types of art – and that includes enamel, a fascinating technique with deep historic roots, fusing powdered glass and dyes to a metal surface by the application of heat. In recent years, the square outside Ostrava’s City Hall has hosted an annual display of enamel artefacts for several weeks each year. These are not pieces of costume jewellery, but large-scale art works measuring up to four square metres, which are viewed to their best advantage in open public spaces. This is an excellent idea, because passers-by take an interest and the urban environment is enhanced.

Ostrava can boast many unique features found in no other Czech city. These giant enamel artefacts are among them: the Vítkovice Holding, formerly the Vítkovice Ironworks, is one of just three organizations in the world that have an enamel shop capable of producing pieces of this size. And that is something to be proud of, because our city becomes a better place to live with every new act of culture.

Petr Kajnar, Mayor of Ostrava
 

THE WORD OF THE GENERAL MANAGER

Dear friends of art,

Late April 2011 was a time of great excitement and anticipation for art-lovers, keen to discover what new creations would emerge from this year’s traditional VÍTKOVICE SMALT ART symposium. Now that a few months have elapsed since the event, I can confidently state that VÍTKOVICE SMALT ART 2011 was a wonderful showcase for some breathtakingly novel, fresh and creative new work which left a deep impression on experts and the general public alike.

VÍTKOVICE SMALT ART creates a new technological quality in art, opening up a new dimension in creative thinking embodied in tangible works of art. With each passing year, the symposium – run with great professionalism and featuring some of the finest artists in the country – manifests its huge potential with increasing clarity.

Some of the participating artists have been involved in the symposium in previous years, and one can see how their creative courage is gathering strength. Contemplating the work of artists invited for the first time, it is evident that they are striving to break away from the conventional approaches of their predecessors. Traditional artistic qualities and fresh approaches to the potential of enamel combine to create the unique atmosphere of the VÍTKOVICE SMALT ART symposium. This year’s participants pushed the boundaries of enamel art, applying new technologies and new creative impulses – and I must say that each time I visited the symposium, their creativity was an unfailing source of joy for me.

Each year’s VÍTKOVICE SMALT ART is headed by an artistic director, who selects the participating artists and acts as a guide for new participants, initiating them into the technology of enamel. This year, the role of artistic director (previously held by two highly respected artists, Aleš Lamr and Václav Malina) was taken over by Ivana Štenclová, who did an outstanding job. Her selection of artists was excellent, and the practical planning and organization of VÍTKOVICE SMALT ART was handled with a very sure touch. Not only did the 2011 symposium represent a creative forum for the participants, but artistically it was the most progressive VÍTKOVICE SMALT ART so far.

Today, with six VÍTKOVICE SMALT ART symposium behind us, it is clear that the event has become an exclusive platform for artists to move in a new direction. This platform offers an opportunity for major names in the art world to work with an entirely new enamel technology. Enamel – a material formerly used mainly for crockery or small trinkets – is being transformed into a technology that embraces and connects together painting, sculpture, architecture and design. Thanks to these mutual interconnections, large-format enamel art is pushing creative boundaries in all of the above categories. Hopefully, next year’s symposium will continue to push these boundaries in all spheres of art.

In conclusion, I would like to express my gratitude to all participants at VÍTKOVICE SMALT ART 2011 for the creativity and invention they brought to the Vítkovice enamel shop. Special thanks go to Ivana Štenclová and Vladimír Chaloupecký, who organized everything with such efficiency.

Ing. Jan Světlík, Chairman of the Board of Directors and Managing Director VÍTKOVICE a.s.
 

THE WORD OF THE CURATOR

For me it was a unique experience, a wonderful source of knowledge and of course a great challenge to be the curator of the 6th symposium SMALT ART VÍTKOVICE 2011. I feel very privileged to have been entrusted with this role.

I already had the opportunity to encounter and work with enamel technology last year. I became convinced that despite the huge range of exciting work that has been produced as part of this project, the possibilities of the medium were still far from exhausted, and there were still many avenues for innovative approaches to really flourish.

This belief influenced my selection of the artists. The fundamental idea was to invite artists whose work I respect and who would bring their own unique contribution, pushing the boundaries of enamel art further. I decided to choose a wide variety of artistic expressions, which would complement and support each other through their diversity.

In my view, the final line-up brought together ten artists who complemented each other well – not only artistically. There was a wonderfully friendly, supportive atmosphere despite the professional diversity and age differences among the participants.

I do not feel the need here to analyze, comment on or evaluate the works produced by the individual artists. I am confident that their work will speak for itself. Once again we have seen the incredible spectrum of possibilities and experiments offered by this demanding technique, whether in colour, space or depiction. All together in one place, we have figural painting, a street art approach, comic-book themes, screen printing, 3D pieces and laser-cutting through sheet metal.

This year’s symposium gave rise to a wonderful range of valuable, original and fascinating works, which will provide great inspiration to artists and the general public, hopefully demonstrating the potential of large-scale enamel work in open public spaces.

I am confident that the genius loci of Ostrava will be long remembered by all the participants. Perhaps we have finally managed to bury the old stereotype of the dark and dirty city, to show it as it really is, as an original, unique entity whose industrial landscape provides a backdrop for wonderful artistic and creative events – such as this symposium.
 

Ivana Štenclová, participant, curator and art director of the symposium SMALT ART VÍTKOVICE 2011