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Pietas is the virtue which admonishes us to do our duty to our country or our parents or other blood relations.

Marcus Tullius Cicero / 106–43 př. n. l.

Glass Soul in CNN

Broadcasted on 29/5/2023

The exhibition of 21 glass artworks entitled Glass Soul / Pietas / Return of Funeral Sculpture presents the first results of the project initiated and realized by Glaz Bridge. The collection includes works by artists who have reflected on the function of funerary sculpture in today's society.

A total of 21 well-known Czech artists from various disciplines will present their conception of fused sculpture presented in commemorative boxes at the Glass Soul exhibition. These are traditionally used to hold the ashes of the deceased, but can also serve as beautiful art objects that preserve the memory of a loved one in your home. You can store not only the ashes of the deceased in glass sculptures, but also, for example, their letters, jewellery, or other items that you hold dear to your memories. The objects can travel with you, moving around as "mobile tombs, memorial altars".

The aim of Martina Sikorová, author of the project, is directed towards presentation of the widest possible spectrum of approaches to this theme. Hence, for realisation of this project, she invited artists of different ages and professional experience, whether in glassworking, sculpture, painting, architecture, jewellery arts, or photography. Crossing the boundaries of artistic genres, it uncovers additional qualities of art: the ability to bring together various media of expression and to use imagination to efface the borders between stereotypes.

In the selection of authors, I took things step by step; thus the collection was slowly
compiled, supplemented, assembled, augmented. Aware of the serious nature of the theme,
individual glass and jewellery studies also took the chance to start collaboration between one

It is no accident that these works were executed in prominent Czech glass studios with
worldwide reputations: the very first molten-glass studio in Železný Brod (Studio Lhotský s.r.o.),
Janecký studio s.r.o. (Praha), and the jewellery firm Belda spol. s.r.o. Major and vital support for the
project idea was offered by Atelier Klumpar in Železný Brod, above all its head Vladěna Klumpar-
Pavlik, who makes use of inspiration gained during her many years in the USA. The owners of these
glass studios not only provided their glass furnaces for the realisations but, as active artists and
pedagogues, themselves contributed as creators to the series of exhibited artefacts.

"The passing of a loved one is a difficult and emotional time, but preserving the memory of them can provide comfort and reassurance. Incorporating glass sculpture into your home's décor can also be a way to celebrate your loved one's life and passions. Perhaps he or she was an avid nature lover and you choose a vessel decorated with delicate floral designs. Or he loved the ocean and you choose one that reflects the beauty, color and power of the sea. The choice can be a deeply personal experience as you seek a vessel that reflects the unique personality and spirit of your loved one. By having a memorial vessel in your home, you will not only preserve the memory of your loved one, but also create a lasting legacy for future generations. It can serve as a reminder of the impact they had on your life and the lives of others who enriched your life. However, you can also purchase a glass sculpture for yourself. Preparing and planning your own funeral has a deep tradition in many cultures. The society then has clear rules, there will be no discord or unfulfilled wishes when we say goodbye, so just like planning your own will or wedding, we can prepare and plan our own funeral. Investing in an art object is one of the most stable or at the same time we are appreciating the property with dignity for future generations and contributing to family peace and clarity.." adds Martina Sikorová.

Guided tour of the exhibition

Summary of recording of the guided tour

The collection on display has several different sections, often based on cooperation from authors in different fields. Particularly noteworthy is the unique conjoining of forces between the glass artists Zdeněk Lhotský (*1956) and Martin Janecký (*1980). At his own initiative, Lhotský
founded Studio Lhotský, continuing in the great tradition of Czech molten-glass sculpture. In his creative oeuvre, Lhotský alternates between molten-glass sculpture, glassware design, and sculpting in metal, with several realisations even reaching into architecture. The artwork of Martin Janecký, in turn, is marked by an incredible mastery of the technique of shaping hot glass through the inside sculpting method. His own studio, Janecký Studio s.r.o., focuses on sculpture that strives for a depiction of unique human individuality.

From the collaboration between these two acknowledged masters emerged the “Objects I
and II”, based on the combination of Lhotský’s moulded glass and Janecký’s blown glass. In their
basic form, the objects recall ancient burial stelae and their ritualistic funerary potential.

Another impressive collaboration is the one between the studio of Vladimíra Klumpar-Pavlik (*1954), another major figure of Czech molten-glass sculpture, and Natálie Dufková (*1995), a young fashion designer (The Spiral of Life) or Jiří Belda (*1958), a leading exponent of the tradition of Czech jewellery design known, among other works, for his creation of copies of the Czech coronation regalia (Space Nest). In this connection, it is worth mentioning his daughter Viktorie Beldová (*1987), the third generation to continue the family firm Belda (1915). In addition to jewellery, she is involved with artwork in various materials and their design. For her molten-glass sculpture, she also involved brass, pearls, and copper (Lea(f)ve).

For another connection between the visual arts – photography and glass - Zdeněk Lhotský (*1956) as patron invited the participation of the young photographer Alžběta Jungrová (*1978), involved in traditional photography, collages, and video projections (Object). A similar experiment was undertaken by another tandem, glass artist Matyas Pavlik (*1984) and painter Antonín Střížek (*1959), who enriched the molten-glass sculpture with his own
experience in painting (Nube).

Further invitations to tread this not entirely unknown path were extended to other authors, in particular painters, now first encountering the chance for individual realisations of their own ideas in the material of glass through molten casting. Jakub Janovský (*1984) uses sketching, painting, collage and sculpture to touch upon a wide range of urgent themes. Other participating painters are Filip Kůrka (*1993), whose painted oeuvre is dominated by motifs
from raw natural realities integrating techniques of assemblage (Goodbye to Hunting) or Petr Písařík (*1968), frequently combining painting with sculpture. Písařík’s works are suffused with an intellectual restlessness, marked by the use of seemingly irreconcilable materials and genres or combining painting, sculpture and photography. Often, the result takes the form of monumental spatial installations (UrnsVasesLamps II.). Sculptor, painter, designer, jeweler, musician Michal Cimala (*1975) deals with apocalyptic scenes, memories of the future, experimental materials, novel musical instruments and playful aesthetics. (ROMAN). Further possibilities of molten glass sculpting are offered by the unique work of Lucie Švitorkové (*1985), who made exceptional use of the knowledge gained as a production technologist in Studio Lhotský regarding all methods of working with liquified glass material. (Memory I., II.). There is a
confrontation here with the concept of a uniform form of ash vial.

Tono Stano (*1960) moves freely among various current artistic media yet with a special emphasis on photography; for the present project, he created a unique molten-glass sculpture (Box). Architect and pedagogue Zdeněk Fránek (*1961) has to his credit a long list of prestigious architectural realisations, including sacred buildings (PERLA I., II.).

To ensure that the creative work does not remain confined to the realm of the traditional “applied arts”, I additionally invited artists who are active in the scene of public space through street art, whose reflections on the exhibition’s theme bring an unusual perspective to the wider situation.

Vladimir 518 (*1978) is a major force in the Czech graffiti and music scenes, yet his range
extends even to traditional artwork and architecture; among other areas, he is the author of many
publications, illustrations, and typographic designs (OBJECT I., II.).

Affiliated with both mentioned artists is Michal Škapa (*1978), known on the Czech and international scenes for his graffiti work. For his expressive means, he draws on a range of media across differing formats, in particular airbrush murals, spatial and light objects (BRIGH HORSES).

Completing the group is Federico Diaz (*1971), an artist of Czech-Argentinian background. Working in new media, he aims to uncover the material elements of the natural world that cannot be perceived by human senses, with extensive use of artificial intelligence and the latest materials (BIG LIGHT: VESSELS).

Another painter, Marek Číhal (*1986), understands his work as a visual game between various media, with spatial and light-based objects connected to architecture. His realisations reflect the masterful skill of his linear drawing and his unique sense of colouristics (PANTER BONBONNIÉRE).

Another unique personality is Epos 257 (*1982), whose self-presentations are predominantly created in public spaces; these often controversial works draw attention to the conditions of the margins of Czech society (MEMENTO MORI).

About the Curator – Martina Sikorová
The founder of the Glaz Bridge project, Martina Sikorová lives and works in Prague.


Physical departure from our earthly life is a topic of marginal interest in our society. Despite the fact that throughout history this fateful event is the subject of all religions and societies. Related to this are the ideas of the afterlife presented by metaphysics, mysticism or esotericism; where the soul goes after death and in which worlds it remains. In all cultures, burial rituals are represented in many forms and culminate in the burial of the remains of the deceased; pyramids, ancient sarcophagi, catacombs, simple graves, ritual offerings to the gods or returning to nature. The whole world knows small and large personal altars and places of remembrance right at home or on the road. There are countless commemorative plaques, stelae, simply most of us need some kind of physical bond with the memory of the deceased.

In contemporary cemeteries, the deceased is usually commemorated with a simple cross, but also with sculptural tombstones, which are part of the so-called funerary art. Since the end of the 19th century, after overcoming church objections, the deceased have ceased to be buried only in the ground and the vast majority are cremated; the remains are then stored in unified urns, which are usually placed in columbariums. This goes hand in hand with the decline of funeral art, which after the Second World War almost unifies the approaches and views of other cultures and territories. They can fascinate us, inspire us and revive our personal and societal view of the preparation, the departure itself and the piet. In our book, we want to show precisely the possibilities of refining these topics. We want to encourage people to deal with this inseparable part of life while they are still in full strength, thus relieving the bereaved and allowing loved ones to grieve cleanly in a difficult moment.

The GlazBridge group decided to create a wider discussion on the issue of funeral art. That is why in 2022 I prepared a project called GLASS SOUL / PIETAS I., the purpose of which was to pay respect to the deceased through artistic means, which used to be quite common in the past.

The determining form is the urn - a storage place for the cremated remains of the deceased, letters, jewelry or other personal messages, or also an object without a clear content for the materialization of personal memories and emotions. Glass material and the unique traditional craft technology of melting glass into a mold were chosen as the starting point for the realization, which offers much wider options than classic urns of the usual shape.


To implement the project, I approached 21 leading Czech artists from various fields. They differ in age and professional experience, working in the field of glassmaking, sculpture, painting, architecture, jewelry or photography. Each artist could thus offer an opportunity to pay respect to the deceased from their position. The authors of the project brought a completely new perspective and approach to creation, bending the glass craft in their own way and thus creating completely unique sculptures.

In 2023, the realization of the first part of the unique project of the Glaz Bridge group under the name GLASS SOUL/PIETAS I. was completed. The first collection was exhibited in the Museum of Applied Arts in Prague. The present publication now presents the entire exhibited collection of urns and points to important traditions and artistic crafts, brings closer the funeral culture of the country and from different corners of the world. At the same time, it is a unique contribution to the topic of the Czech glassmaking tradition.

The collection is complete and there is already interest in exhibiting it outside our country. Individual objects can be purchased within the framework of custom production from several hundred thousand crowns up to millions, depending on the complexity and requirements of the client.

Glaz Bridge provides a complete service within the production and production of work with the authors and after-sales service.

The price for the first complete collection exhibited in UPM GLASS SOUL: 1.3 million euros without VAT / VAT in dollars


* total price of the collection without the inserted work Michal Cimala and Epos 257


If you are interested, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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