Contemporary Hungarian glass art on display

Yao Minji
Glassmaking has a rich history in Hungary, and now PICNIC Gallery in Shanghai is showcasing modern masterpieces of this time-honored craft.
Yao Minji

“Golden fields, silver rivers ...” The lyrics from the Hungarian opera “Bank Ban” by Ferenc Erkel (1810-1893) capture the country’s rich underground water network that led to its famous thermal spas.

It is also the inspiration for the centerpiece of the recently opened “Layers of Hungary — Contemporary Glass Art Exhibition” in Shanghai.

The polished glasses and mirrors, engraved with 24-karat gold water drawings, create a 3D effect revealing what lies behind the mirrors. Seen from different angles, the viewer’s perspective is transformed.

The water theme of the piece not only reflects artist Zoltan Viczan’s attachment to his home country and its rich history of glassmaking, but also his inspiration from Asian philosophy and glass art techniques. 

Contemporary Hungarian glass art on display
Ti Gong
Contemporary Hungarian glass art on display
Ti Gong

Born in 1979, the artist was intrigued by glass art at an early age and moved to work at World Glassware Hall in Japan’s Ishikawa in 2005. He has also worked in Hong Kong and moved to Shanghai in 2016.

The combination of a strong Hungarian identity with respect and love of nature and a unique Asian influence is also present in his other works, many of which are also on display at the exhibition. His latest works include those from his "Fauna" series of vividly engraved animals on 8-centimeter-in-diameter circular glass.

In Hungary, glass manufacturing can be traced back to the Medieval period. Ancient Hungarian glass pieces are often distinct in their color schemes and repeated motifs such as engraved peacocks and grapes.

Contemporary artists like Viczan have both inherited traditional cutting and engraving techniques and embarked on new explorations. Viczan designed a engraving machine that combines the latest technology with antique glass-engraving techniques in 2015.

“In my work, cutting and engraving complete each other,” he wrote. “The knowledge of glass engraving and cutting have been developed over generations. I try to learn from the works of old masters and keep this knowledge alive and if possible, I try to improve this knowledge and skill.”

Contemporary Hungarian glass art on display
Ti Gong

Works by Zoltan Viczan

Exhibition info

Date: Through November 15
Venue: PICNIC Gallery
Address: 190 Yueyang Rd

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