Foto: Ondřej Kocourek
Foto: Ondřej Kocourek
Foto: Ondřej Kocourek
Foto: Ondřej Kocourek

9/18/2021 – 12/5/2021


Luba Bakičová & Barbora Štefánková

Exhibition Hra. Hra? Hra! (Play. Play? Play!) presents a contrast of the works of the two present most compelling and professionally successful representatives of young authors’ original glass art in the Czech Republic.

In Luba Bakičová’s concept, “play” is nothing else but a synonym of creativeness and a symbol of invasions into systematic experimenting with the substance of glass. It is both technological and visual experimenting with its characteristic properties, such as hardness, fragility, transparency… Bakičová “is capable” of halting, in a way, the viscousness of hot glass, once cooled – that is, in solid form –, her artefacts still raise the impression of being viscous, even gelatinous. In other cases, the author combines glass even with elements of heat-resistant material, sometimes inaccurately called refractory concrete. The inclusion of concrete into the aesthetics of the impression of shapes was once already the subject of Brutalist architecture; from time to time concrete was included in presentation, when glass elements were inserted into it and concrete replaced a wall or a structural wall… So far, no approach to these combinations similar to that of Luba Bakičová has appeared. Both materials intermingle in a logical way in the composition, they frequently represent a contrast of the incompatible: she contrasts hardness against softness, she combines the sturdiness of the form with the “marmalade-like” property of flowing molten glass, she creates glass in the likeness of jelly, or even plastic. We may see these visual provocations in the contrast of the geometrizing body of a sculpture passing into melting glass at its bottom. Although it still seems to be a soft part of the object, it is but an optical illusion as this “degradation” in the furnace was masterfully stopped and the glass was cooled. This, too, is a play. At other times, Bakičová’s artefacts may look like a piece of soft jelly that somehow escaped the pressure of two blocks acting against each other, or it may, in the simple form of a “blob” or a block of “colourful agar”, flow over the edge of its base, sometimes even flowing around an element of refractory concrete on its way. Presently, melting has been the focus of hundreds of young glass artists all over the world, yet those were the “different” works of Luba Bakičová that were selected for the finals of prestigious international competition Young Glass 2017 in Ebeltoft, Denmark, and exhibited in the most famous glass art centres of Europe.

For Barbora Štefánková, play as manipulation of meanings and forms is the absolutely crucial base of her work. Despite coming from the family running a glass studio in Desná, it appears that Barbora Štefánková has no intentions to let the focus of her family business limit her in any way. Still, the opportunity to cooperate with her father, great master glassblower Martin Štefánek is a great advantage for her. His sense for the creative essence of the design and his craftsmanship in handling hot glass is so great that his share of the realization nears the level of co-authorship. He can emphatically feel and materialize his daughter’s ideas. Although Barbora Štefánková is also a great designer, she goes beyond the limits of the contemporary glass art in the area of free creation, opening it towards the second wave of Czech Postmodernism, in which, similarly to the first wave, “everything is allowed”. There are no limits; the richness of form, inspiration from other periods or transfers from other fields mean that layering more decorations, gold plating, glass domes (and thus more meanings) never ends. The author dwells on the boundary of crazy and merry plays and narrations as a “director” of scenic dramas with a little peculiar retro-figures of people, animals, or dolls. These are conspicuously reminiscent of colour-print figures of little girls and boys which we know as the brilliant kitsch in the last century view cards, magazines or advertisements. Štefánková enjoys using them to provoke, to guide us around them, diverting safely from kitsch, at least by restricting the colour of her artefacts. These are brilliantly crafted, entertaining, and in all aspects playful “masquerades” that are not just formally made, but based in the author’s private experiences, wishes, comments of current events, cultural experiences, or a little psychedelic, dreamy memories. They raise merriment; however, they also involve bleak personal emotions. In a way, they are also personal confessions which is why we can view the plays as delusional, yet also as non-delusional, because they are serious and nostalgic.

It is not only the material of glass which connects both authors, but also talent, international experience, and a positive reception of their work by both professional and lay audience. Both are dynamic and spontaneous personalities, we can feel creativity from their every realization that both of them develop in an entirely original way, also involving provocation, humour, and emotion. Creative work as a way of play is an ancient principle in artwork and it can have (and it does, in case of these two authors) various facets and limits. Play may be viewed as the ability to look at things without any burden, differently than it is usual. Thus, in both of them, we may see the affiliation to the classical “homo ludens”, transformed according to the contemporary thinking of the young generation and the environment of glass-making…

Foto: Ondřej Kocourek
Foto: Ondřej Kocourek
Foto: Ondřej Kocourek
Foto: Ondřej Kocourek

Exhibition Curator Sylva Petrová
Project Manager: Alena Holubová
Architectural Design: Emil Zavadil
Graphic Design: Matěj Bárta
Czech Copy Editing: Jana Křížová
English Translation: EUFRAT Group, s. r. o., Plzeň (Radek Chejlava)
Accompanying Programme: Barbora Štefánková
Publicity: Jana Pelouchová
Instalace: Arte Partner Prague, s. r. o., Artelo, s. r. o.
Installation: Helena Musilová


The exhibition’s authors wish to express their gratitude to the artists for loaning the exhibits and for their kind help, as well as to other people, namely Jakub Čermák, Jiří Leubner, Petr Medek, Miloš Věrný and Lenka Viková, for their technical support and help during the preparation of the exhibition.

Luba Bakičová

1985 born in Ilava, Slovakia

Associated Secondary School of Glassmaking in Lednické Rovne, Slovakia

Faculty of Art and Design at Jan Evangelista Purkyně University in Ústí nad Labem, Ilja Bílek’s studio

National Academy of Arts, Sofia, Bulgaria

The Ethnographic Museum and Gallery in Česká Lípa

Obraz, komunikace, styl, funkce, koncept (Image, Communication, Style, Function, Concept), National Gallery, Trade Fair Palace, Prague
8. Art Glass Festival, Minea gallery, Karlovy Vary

9. Art Glass Festival, Minea gallery, Karlovy Vary
Také sklo (Also Glass), Univerzitní galerie (University Gallery), Pilsen
Cena Stanislava Libenského (Stanislav Libenský Prize), Clam-Gallas Pallace, Prague

The Ethnographic Museum and Gallery in Česká Lípa

Glasmuseum – Alter Hof Herding, Coesfeld-Lette, Germany
Biennale of glass, Conseil Général du Bas-Rhin, Place du Quartier Blanc, Strasbourg, France

Prague Festival – selection from previous festivals, Czech Center, New York, USA

Sklo versus (Glass Versus), Industra gallery, Brno
Střepy modernity (Shards of Modernity), Industrial Gallery, Ostrava
Severská kombinace (Nordic Combined), Galerie N, Jablonec nad Nisou
Zwieseler Kölbl, Ehemaliges Mädchenschulhaus, Zwiesel, Germany

Sklo není jenom slovo (Glass Is Not Just a Word), Municipal Museum of Ústí nad Labem
Designblok (FUD UJEP, Studio Glass), Dům U Minuty House, Prague
Affordable Art Fair, Hamburg, Germany

Vitrofestival, Vitromusée Romont, Switzerland
Art and Antique, Hofburg, Rakousko
Sklo nad Labem (Glass Upon Elbe), Glass Museum, Nový Bor

Czech Design Week, Kotva department store, Prague
Bez limitu (No Limit), Ladislav Sutnar Gallery, Pilsen
AHOY! Glass Art, Czech Centre, Prague
AHOY! Glass & Design, Galerie N, Jablonec nad Nisou
AHOY! Glass Design, Glassimo gallery, Prague
16th Festival of Glass Art, Minea gallery, Karlovy Vary

Za hranou skla (Beyond the Edge of Glass), Dancing House Gallery, Prague
Young Glass, Glasmuseet Ebeltoft, Denmark
Young Glass, Glass Factory, Boda Glasbruk, Sweden

Young Glass, National Glass Centre, Sunderland, Great Britain
Ex post, Brno City Museum

Czech Glass, Quo vadis?!, GAD – Giudecca Art District, Venice, Italy

Ilja Bílek – glass, Lucie Sokolová – painting, Luba Bakičová – drawing, Ostrava Museum, Ostrava

Konstrukce-destrukce (Construction-Destruction), with Ilja Bílek, The New Town Hall, Prague

Sklo, beton, železo (Glass, Concrete, Iron), with Ilja Bílek and Ivan Illovský, Slovek Institute in Prague

Deformácia zón (Deformation of Zones), with Ilja Bílek, NOVA Gallery, Bratislava, Slovakia
Bohemian Glass, with Ilja Bílek, Gallery ’t Walvis, Schiedam-Rotterdam, the Netherlands

Skloňování (Declension), with Ilja Bílek, The North Bohemian Gallery, Litoměřice

Plán B (Plan B), with Ilja Bílek, Pokorná gallery, Prague
2× sklo (2×Glass), with Ilja Bílek, The East Bohemia Museum in Pardubice
The Expected Unexpected, with Ilja Bílek, Glasgalerie Stölting, Hamburg, Germany
Glass v nás (Glass in Us), with Ilja Bílek, Industrial Gallery, Ostrava

Bellart Gallery, with Ilja Bílek, Vienna, Austria
Bez lesku (No Lustre), with Ilja Bílek, Nová síň gallery, Prague
Bez lesku 2 (No Lustre 2), with Ilja Bílek, The North Bohemian Museum in Liberec

1:06, [Kunst] Projekte, with Gyeor Lee, Mannheim, Germany

Yes Name, Glasgalerie Stölting, Hamburg, Germany

1st place in Sanssouci national competition of glassmaking schools, Karlovy Vary

a finalist of Glass – Nova gallery award, Bratislava, Slovakia
2nd place in ArtZept International Design Awards, Milan, Italy

2nd place in ArtZept International Design Awards, Milan, Italy

Glasmuseet Ebeltoft, Denmark

Glasmuseum – Alter Hof Herding, Coesfeld-Lette, Germany

The North Bohemian Museum in Liberec

The East Bohemia Museum in Pardubice

Barbora Štefánková

1991 born in Jilemnice

High School of Applied Arts in Turnov

High School of Applied Arts for Glassmaking in Železný Brod

Academy of Arts, Architecture & Design in Prague, Rony Plesl’s studio

Graduation works exhibition, Secondary School of Applied Arts in Turnov

Junior Glass Match Sanssouci, Spa Resort Sanssouci, Karlovy Vary

Letní výstava (Summer Exhibition), High School of Applied Arts for Glassmaking in Železný Brod

A.TO.MY!, Galerie N, Jablonec nad Nisou
Střední uměleckoprůmyslová škola sklářská v Železném Brodě (High School of Applied Arts for Glassmaking in Železný Brod), Moser Gallery, Prague

Manifesto, Museum of Decorative Arts, Schloss Pillnitz, Dresden, Germany
Glass to Face /unavoidable/, (A)VOID Floating Gallery, Prague
Sklony (Inclinations), Glassimo, Prague

Pokoje (Rooms), Containall Cihelná, Prague
Designblok, Výstaviště Holešovice, Prague
UMPRUM – MANIFESTO – Salone Internazionale del Mobile, Palazzo Clerici, Milan, Italy

Více než 9539 dní (More than 9539 Days), NIKA gallery, Prague
Diploma Selection, Designblok, Holešovice Exhibition grounds, Prague
Křehká síla skla (Fragile Power of Glass), Dancing House Gallery – Dorotheum auction, Prague
Fragile, Glassimo, Prague
Stanislav Libenský Award, DOX, Prague
Skleněná vila (Glass Villa), Villa P651 – Home of The Běhal Fejér Institute, Prague
International Triennial of Glass and Jewellery, Museum of Glass and Jewellery in Jablonec nad Nisou

Golden kids, Helena Dařbujánová showroom, Window Gallery, Prague
Colours of Transparency, HYB gallery, Prague
Imatrikulace (Matriculation), Kvalitář, Prague
Colours of Transparency, London Design Fair, Londýn, Great Britain
Concorso Internazionale di vetro artistico e di design, Castello Sforzesco, Milan, Italy

Czech Design Week, Congress Centre, Prague
My Young Pink Ecologist, Meat Design Ostrava
19th Festival of Art Glass – Glassfest, Hot Spring Colonnade, Karlovy Vary
Proti němu (Against Him), Zlin Design Week, Zlín
Skleněná sobota, design v Portheimce (Glass Saturday, Design at Portheimka), Portheimka – Museum of Glass Art, Prague

Adventní kalendář (Advent Calendar), Kaš-mi-daš, Prague

Designérská kresba (Design Drawing), Faculty of Art and Design at Jan Evangelista Purkyně University in Ústí nad Labem
Glass – Singing in the Rain, Letní škola FUD (Summer School of the Faculty of Art and Design), Ústí nad Labem
Pareidolie aneb Přerušení dodávky elektřiny (Pareidolia, or Power Outage) , Zlin Design Week, Zlín

winning design for the Olympics for Children and Youth in Liberec
winning design of the Czech Miss crown

2010, 2012, 2014
winning illustrations for children book “Quido Doggie’s Tales”

winner of Junior Glass Match Sanssouci

Museum of Decorative Arts, Schloss Pillnitz, Dresden, Germany

Portheimka – Museum of Glass Art, Prague

Luba Bakičová / Orange Attack, 2014
melted glass
property of the author


Yes, this object comprises an attack. The perception of it is attacking us, harasses us, and attracts us oddly. By what? By what we know well from our experience. We cannot understand why things, organized well in our life, suddenly become imponderable and elusive… Why can people not resist the temptation to follow disasters and to try to understand unknown phenomena? Simply said, mysteries exceeding our experience disturb us.

Luba Bakičová / Yes name, 2021
melted glass
property of the author



The present day is obsessed with stories, tales, and epic of content… The story of this object is simple: it speaks of matter which once – in the initial mode of its processing – was incandescent, viscous, or flowing, and now it has cooled and is hard and fragile. Seeing such object thus raises the Platonic question: Is what we see around the actual reality, or is reality actually nothing but appearance?

Luba Bakičová / On the Edge, 2014
melted glass
property of the author


The mass of glass, chiselled by glassmakers into geometric facets, pretends being diamonds, creates an impression of luxury. Here, glass turned into an organic blob… It is not shiny; it has no intention of pretending luxury. Is this large organic thing going to fall over the edge of its base? Is it going to climb a bit back up over the edge? Let us think about how a static shape of a glass object changes into a dynamic one in our intrinsic feeling.

Luba Bakičová / Yes name, 2019
melted glass
property of the author


Only few would imagine a concrete block as a load one places upon glass. In this case, too, the author turns our thinking upside down, showing us how habitual the notions and stereotypes within which we operate are: she places the concrete block on the glass from above, loading it with the weight of the concrete. And the glass? Instead of broken pieces, we can see melting, thick mass of the flowing glass buoying the block up(!).

Barbora Štefánková / 9539 dní: Naše masky, 2017
hot-formed moonstone glass and blown crystal glass, gilded tin
property of the author


In 2017, the author finished her studies at UMPRUM academy. Her graduation work was an installation, a part of which was this capsule with figures titled Our Masks. We cannot tell whether they are figures from a commedia dell’arte, a last century annual calendar, or some other period, but it is not important. It is a visual paraphrase of the realization that the human community operates rather according to the principle of the roles accepted through social consensus than the actual identities.

Barbora Štefánková / 9539 dní: Pro mé zlaté srdce, 2017
hot-formed moonstone glass and blown crystal glass, gilded tin
property of the author


Protecting something by a glass cover always means guarding a value we consider worth protecting. The highest level of protection in the past belonged to holy relics – which were protected by just the same glass covers as those that the artist uses often and gladly, yet not randomly. They carry some of the symbolics of this and other exhibits, some of their provocativeness, and, as we may guess based on the author’s capability of making jokes, a touch of irony.

Barbora Štefánková / Opičí poklad II, 2019
hot-formed moonstone glass and grey glass
property of the author


Stylized and very popular depictions of animals – fish, herons, etc. – last appeared in Czech free-blown glass in the 1950’s and 60’s. Then, for an extensive period of time, the interest of artists diverted from this discipline, however, in 2017 it returned. No challenge is too little for the author and her co-operator, Martin Štefánek. A playful, merry monkey of the macaque species is climbing up a silver chain and his cunning expression is capable of entertaining us… Apart from other things, it symbolizes the fact that in the realm of the glass art, no topic is ultimately exhausted.

Barbora Štefánková / Z lásky: Miluji tě k sežrání, 2021
hot-formed alabaster and red glass, blown and cut crystal
property of the author


The postmodern thinking which flooded the Czech glass art in the 1980’s was connected with the criticism and ridiculing of the centrally directed culture or its political limits. We should be happy that the author does not have to be interested in such aim any longer. She turns to more private subjects of her life and her perception of it. Perhaps even to personal ones, whose emotionality and pathos she is able to belittle in a kind way, by having the little girl eat a paw of her teddy-bear and fulfil thus the well-known Czech saying forming the title.