Josef Divín: Frozen Landscapes
As part of their installation, Earth, Glass, Fire, at Collectible 2022, Spazio Nobile presented a selection of new glass vessels by contemporary Czech artist, Josef Divin. His distinctive process of hand blowing and hand cutting glass creates enigmatic and captivating works of art.
“I admire silence, rain and a frozen landscape, the falling leaves and the horizon,” says Josef Divín, explaining the elements that particularly inspire his glass art. Divín’s works are characterised by a combination of blown or sheet glass, and fused-on silver or zinc-aluminium foil ornamentation. This foil is used to decorate the surface of the work and is evocative of frozen landscapes, mountains or a melancholic sky.
Josef Divín is one of the most notable contemporary Czech glass artists working today. His work combines the delicacy, smoothness and cleanliness of glass on the one hand, and the greyness, coarseness and roughness of metal. The artist has become known as a master of contrasts, sometimes provocatively attracting the observer’s attention in his works via strong colours, deliberately combined with a minimalist form; this whole is then altered by way of a harsh, even dark decorative layer. One particularly common trait found in Divín’s blown glass works is the intentional preservation of what is known in Czech as “kopna”, meaning the top part of the glass form created on the blowpipe that is normally cut away. But Divín likes to work with this “waste”, subjecting it to further cutting or engraving, thus either making the piece more distinct or softening the overall character of the finished work according to his particular artistic vision. “It is an indelible part of the process,” he explains. “I intervene in the cold surface of the glass, and, by adding subtle nuances, I can either stimulate or subdue the entire desired form. One of my long-time inspirations in this is Czech glass artist, Marián Volráb, who is a master at working with a grindstone.”
Divín typically uses simple titles for his work, such as Nádoby (Containers or Vessels). “These aren’t simply vases. I am surrendering the concept of utilitarianism in favour of creating unusual art objects, which I view as ‘containers’.” Such a delicate, minimalist morphology associated with mere “containers” enables a space to be created for an examination of contrasts associated with structure and composition, both in terms of cutting details onto the glass, and in terms of the addition of silvery decorative elements evocative of drawings or paintings.
Josef Divín was born in the Moravian town of Valašské Meziříčí in 1982, going on to study at the local glass art school. This was followed by studies at Prague’s Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design (UMPRUM), which included tutelage under the noted professors Vladimír Kopecký and Jaroslav Vančát. Following the completion of his studies, Divín returned to his native region and currently works as a teacher at the Valašské Meziříčí Secondary School of Glass Art, heading the Glass Design and Luminous Art Objects department. The teacher-artist is the holder of a number of awards, and has been enthusiastically promoted and supported over the years by Galerie Kuzebauch. Divín’s works have been exhibited both at home and around the world. A selection of his glass art was recently exhibited in Brussels with Spazio Nobile as part of the COLLECTIBLE 2022 design fair.