Europe will gain a major new museum devoted to glass when ZIBA - The Prague Glass Experience Museum opens in 2016 in the center of the historic city of Prague in the Czech Republic. Designed to be an inspiring experience of visual art, design and innovative technology in contemporary glass will present the material with an emphasis on its prominence in Czech history. The museum will connect glass art with its role in design, crafts, technology, architecture, and other creative disciplines across the industry, including education and entertainment. Though the official opening is still more than a year away, the venue is already hosting interesting exhibitions and events in preparation.
The ZIBA Museum will occupy the former Zemska and Zivnostenska Banka, a neo-renaissance style building in the center of Prague. The name ZIBA is an abbreviation that was once used as the banking code for Zivnostenska Banka that the authorities of the Museum wanted to keep to preserve the building's former incarnation. The facility will offer three separate exhibitions spaces, starting with Bohemian Glass Story, curated by Milan Hlaves (a curator at the Prague Museum of Decorative Arts) and Petr Novy. ZIBA Gallery will focus on modern contemporary Czech and international artists working in glass. Finally, the Glass Experience exhibition is being developed by the glass company Lasvit, and will feature the "Lasvit Hot Glass Show," a presentation area designed for glass blowing demonstrations, workshops, training, research and creative glassmaking. The ZIBA museum will also have a retail component, selling leading glassmaking brands' design products. The facility will be rounded out by a café and restaurant, as well as a regular schedule of educational programs, events and services for local and international visitors.
Led by Ladislav Pflimpfl, the director of ZIBA, the core team of the Museum will include major figures in the Czech glass field such as Maxim Velcovsky, Marie Vitkova, Milan Hlaves, Sylva Petrova, and Petr Novy. The ZIBA Artistic Board includes talented artists, architects, designers and curators such as Tulga Beyerle, Daniel Libeskind, Martin Janecky, Eva Jiricna, and Eva Eisler.
"The location of ZIBA Museum is perfect due to its accessibly to the public," Czech-native Katya Heller of Heller Gallery in NYC told the GLASS Quarterly Hot Sheet. "The Czech Republic has a lot of great glass museums such as Ajeto Art Glass Museum in Novy Bor or Cesty Skla/Ways of Glass, Glass Art Center in Sazava, but the access is limited because of the far distance. ZIBA is placed in the center of Prague and makes it easier to access and experience the glass for everybody. The ZIBA Collection will bring works of Czech glass artists and designers closer to the wider public".
Works already included in the ZIBA Collection are coming from leading Czech and international artists such as: Stanislav Libensky and Jaroslava Brychtova, Marian Karel, Vaclav Ciger, Zdenek Lhotsky, Frantisek Vizner, Martin Janecky, Jiri Cernicky, Olgoj Chorchoj, Caitlind r.c. Brown and Wayne Garrett and Ross Lovegrove.
A special project entitled “ The Infant Jesus of Prague” is an ongoing collaboration between the Czech glass artist Martin Janecky and ZIBA. As a member of ZIBA Artistic Board, Janecky helps the museum to connect with institutions, museums, collectors and artists around the world. His special commission is “inspired by the 16th-century Roman Catholic wooden statue of Jesus holding a Globus crucifix," which will reside in the museum's permanent collection.
In an email exchange with GLASS, the director of ZIBA, Pflimpfl Ladislav, said that the new work is “a symbol of Prague, a strong local place/religious story, that combines the history of the original piece, the great Czech glass tradition, and a contemporary take on the artwork by an artist of Martin’s generation ... There are many copies of the Infant, but none made from a clear crystal glass, blown and formed with the technique that Janecky uses.”
The Janecky project gained a lot of attention after it was announced that one of the museum board members had offered to donate the Infant as a personal gift to the Pope during a private audience.
ZIBA - Prague Glass Experience Museum is supported by CPI Property Group.
See more on the museum and its activities on its YouTube channel.ZIBA: Prague Glass Experience Museum
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