19. June 2022 - 9. October 2022
Ondřej Vicena – Pink Glasses
GASK - Gallery of Central Bohemian Region, Barborská 51-53, Kutná Hora
19. June 2022 - 9. October 2022
Word from the curator
„Then my companion on the other side said: “And I give thee these spectacles, through which thou wilt henceforth look on the world,” and he thrust on my nose spectacles, through which I immediately see everything differently than before. They certainly had this power (as I afterwards often experienced), that to him who saw through them distant things appeared near, near things distant; small things large, and large things small; ugly things beautiful, and beautiful things ugly; the white black, and the black white, and so forth. And I well understood that he should be called Falsehood who knew how to fashion such spectacles and place them on men. Now these spectacles, as I afterwards understood, were fashioned out of the glass of Illusion, and the rims which they were set in were of that horn which is named Custom. But, fortunately for me, he had put them on me somewhat crookedly, so that they did not press closely on my eyes, and by raising my head and gazing upward I was still able clearly to see things in their natural way.“
John Amos Comenius, The Labyrinth of the World and the Paradise of the Heart
Ondřej Vicena (1988) graduated from the New Media Studio at AVU and is currently a Ph.D. Student in Product Design at UMPRUM in Prague. He is an artist, designer and collector of eyewear frames with a broad professional range. He creates multimedia installations and electronic music projects involving the use of 1980s synthesisers and also works as a curator and exhibition architect. In this last role, he created the interesting architecture for Eliška Lhotská’s jewellery exhibition The Future is now at GASK’s Whitebox in 2016.
In his design work, he is interested in history, especially the memory of a place, vintage aesthetics and nostalgia. The current site-specific installation Pink Glasses follows on his earlier his earlier exhibition Glasses and Spectacles, which looked at the tradition of Czechoslovak eyewear design within an international context and which won the 2021 Designblok Award from Outstanding Exhibition Project.
Pink Glasses presents the latest eyewear model from the Optiqa design studio and, thanks to its large-format images of glasses-making equipment, offers visitors a poetic look into the company’s workshop. The Pink Glasses collection also looks to history, being inspired by John Amos Comenius’s Baroque-era parable The Labyrinth of the World and the Paradise of the Heart. In this work of literature, we encounter spectacles of deception that the narrator/pilgrim sees on his guide’s face. This idea is contained in the excerpt from Comenius’s book, published here as the motto of this text.
In its inspiration by this work of Baroque literature, Vicena’s motif of “rose-coloured glasses” posits the legacy of the Protestant intellectual Comenius as a metaphorical counterpoint to the history of the GASK building, which once served the Jesuits and thus was formed a centre of re-Catholisation. At the same time, however Vicena’s exhibition calls our attention to modern aspects of ‘spectacles of deception’, which take on a more sophisticated form today. One the one hand, mass media and social networks pull us into a matrix of information and disinformation on a daily basis and we constantly subjected to pressures of deception and manipulation, fear and uncertainty. On the other hand, we put on the virtual ‘rose-coloured glasses’ of the entertainment industry, which offers an escape into 3D realities and artificial Edens. Within this context, the ideas of Comenius take on a new and urgent relevance.