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I make glass which does not want to become art but rather a means of viewing and watching

I make non-technical devices which enlarge, reduce, mirror, dissociate the outer environment...

I make screens, which filtrate the surrounding world into new variety of colors and shapes.

I offer a confrontation of transformed reality with the primary, not the disfigured reality...

For this I use, in the first place, the optical features of glass.

Glass is an exciting material. It is a matter as well as a non-matter. As real as unreal. As distinctive as an extension beyond itself, and thus casting doubt upon the experience of our senses.

Moreover, glass is perhaps the only material which can be technologically developed all the time and thus adjusted for the realization of even the most phantasmagoric images and intents.

Glass has a human character and fate.

Vaclav Cigler

(The exhibition of Václav Cigler)

Recently, my friend asked me a curious question: how do I find out what is the particular object of art supposed to mean? Well, I am not trying to find that and these essays are not some kind of explanations of "what did the artist have in mind by this". That is not the way I am reacting to art. No, I am looking for my impressions, my comprehension, my own - shall we say - absorption of it. Am I being too self-centered? Not at all! I am the "receiver" and I have a personal interest in the message the art is conveying to me. And so what I write are rather free associations and not a recipe what should one see in the art in question. And God forbid - I do not intend to spell any suggestions what you yourself should think. If anything, it may start you thinking in your own direction, which is perfectly all right with me.

Describing art in words is difficult, some might even say impossible. Especially some art - like the works of Mr. Vaclav Cigler. Well, if I knew how to do it, I would rather get hold of brush or maybe write a poem, compose a short musical piece or use other artistic means which leave more space for imagination. But words? Or to paraphrase Hamlet whose author said it long time before me and three times better: "Words, words, words!".

I have here one confession to make. I always thought that music is some special kind of art - so volatile and elusive. Now you hear it and now you don't, only the impression remains. You have to admit that it has a very difficult task to make a really lasting impression. It is also time dependent: it has the beginning, parts are in sequences and also the end. Painters, sculptors and similar artists - I thought - have it easy: the objects of their work are static. They are here to stay and you can see them, turn them around and study them at your leisure, any time - all the time.

Well, music is the special kind of art, but otherwise I was wrong. Those artists do not have it easier and neither have we, the viewers. There are artistic objects, which are dynamic, more like being alive, strange as it may seem to be. Every time you see them again, they tell you something different, something new. Needless to say, the works of Mr. Cigler are like that. They almost evolve in front of your eyes, reminding you what your last impression was and giving you, almost as a bonus, another, deeper insight. It's like if your eyes are opening wider and wider and the process never ends.

And to make it even more difficult, Mr. Cigler uses the most elusive material - glass, all special properties it possesses and through many technologies available. I already admitted here my weakness, my adoration of objects made of glass. Maybe it is because they can also mesmerize, combine the optical effects with the message itself, mix the context with the style and form, all that in order to create the multi-dimensional meaning. Yes, all those dimensions the artist leaves for you and me, in order to exercise our own thinking. I guess that's what the real art is all about, after all.

And what's more: his objects never are only what they seem to be. It is thanks to his art - the art so much impressive, because it does not present the ideas in simplistic way - that Václav Cigler is well known around the world. His many exhibitions as well as his lifetime work are outstanding examples of the effect he made on us, the "receivers". His is not an easy art, it requires from us to find the right "frequency" and fine tune-up, but whoever said that it was going to be easy? In our world, so over-filled with ready-to made manuals or "cook-books" for everything, it is refreshing to see that the artist believes in real values, the ideas in our minds. The values, which are not-so-easy to come by and therefore so much more precious.

© Jan B. Hurych
Hurontaria - Czech/English magazine

© 1999 Vaclav Cigler, ArtForum / ICZ a.s.
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