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HENKEL SLOVENSKO PRESENTS FIFTH FAMOUS SLOVAK ÉMIGRÉ - SCULPTOR JÁN ZORIČÁK

Cosmic messages sealed in glass

IT HAS BECOME a tradition that every year around Christmas Slovaks are introduced to the work of one of their natives who has gained fame abroad. This year they will get to know the glasswork of sculptor Ján Zoričák, who lives in France.
"Ján Zoričák is one of the leading representatives of contemporary glass art in Europe and in the world," said Karol Maliňák, curator of the exhibition that opened at Mirbach Palace on December 3 and will run until February 1, 2004.


GALAXIES and planets find their way into Zoričák's light-bending glass works.
photo: Michel Wirth

IT HAS BECOME a tradition that every year around Christmas Slovaks are introduced to the work of one of their natives who has gained fame abroad. This year they will get to know the glasswork of sculptor Ján Zoričák, who lives in France.

"Ján Zoričák is one of the leading representatives of contemporary glass art in Europe and in the world," said Karol Maliňák, curator of the exhibition that opened at Mirbach Palace on December 3 and will run until February 1, 2004.

Henkel Slovensko, a consumer products company, came up with the idea - to introduce world-famous artists with Slovak roots to the country of their origin - in 1999. Since then, the Slovakia to Slovakia project, which was developed in cooperation with the Bratislava City Gallery,


photo: Michel Wirth

has presented four personalities, including pop-artist Andy Warhol, photographer of The Beatles Dežo Hoffmann, graphic artist Koloman Sokol, and sculptor Arthur Fleischmann.

The fifth exhibition in the series, Zoričák's, offers a retrospective of the sculptor's work. Over 60 glass sculptures, accompanied by photographs mapping significant moments in the artist's life and work, are displayed under the title Cosmic Messages.

"When we started the project, we didn't expect it to take on such dimensions," said Zdeněk Brichta, general director of Henkel Slovensko, adding that it proves the wide spectrum of Slovak art that is present in the world.

Few would also expect that a boy from a remote village in the north of Slovakia would one day jump into the saddle of world sculpture.


photo: Michel Wirth

Born in 1944 in Ždiar, Zoričák's life uncoiled unpredictably and quickly. As he says, he passed the exams for technical art school in Bratislava by chance. But because there were not enough places to study wood and stone carving, for which he had originally applied, they offered him glass studies. Not missing his chance, he graduated from the University of Technical Arts in Prague in 1969, and after meeting a French woman who would become his wife, he moved to Talloires in France.

The sculptor has created hundreds of works, and the main theme one can find in them is the cosmos.

The spectacle of the universe started to fascinate him when,


photo: Michel Wirth

as a young boy, he used to lie on the grass watching stars, but he became fully absorbed in them after waching the first man land on the Moon in 1969. Since then, he has been searching for unique ways to seal the outer world into his works, and playing with light effects. Planets, asteroids, or galaxies swim inside clear glass panels, and from various perspectives, they look different.

Zoričák has participated in renowned international exhibitions and was awarded several prestigious international prizes, including the gold medal at the International Exhibition of Glass in Kanazawa, Japan, in 1990. His work can be found in galleries and private collections on almost every continent. The artist even placed one of his works, Arctic Flower, at the North Pole when he participated in the first Slovak North-Pole expedition in 1993.


THE GLASSMASTER Zoričák.
photo: Ivo Brachtl

"Placing my Antarctic Flower on the South Pole is a mission that still awaits me," Zoričák said.

The Cosmic Messages exhibition runs at Mirbach Palace on Františkánske námestie 11, Bratislava, from Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00-18:00. Admission is Sk20 and Sk40. A three-language publication (Slovak-French-English) was issued for the occasion. Tel: 02/5443-1556 (8).

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