EXHIBITION

Joint exhibition of works by the prominent Czech painter Jakub Špaňhel and the Venetian mirrors from the traditional glass workshop Ongaro e Fuga from Murano.

The exhibition has ended. Thank you very much for your interest.

The exhibition was held under the patronage of the Ambassador of the Italian Republic in Prague, His Excellency Francesco Saverio Nisio and the Rector of Charles University in Prague, His Magnificence Prof. Tomáš Zima

 

THE ORIGINS OF OUR STORY

Established in 1952 by Franco Fuga and his wife Tullia Ongaro, the Ongaro e Fuga company remains until today a champion for the centennial craft and for a tradition with the most fascinating historical connections. The origins of both families hark back to ancient stories, where the magic and wonder of Venetian mirrors originate. Silvano Tagliapietra, historian and writer, tells of an Ongaro who in 1400 arrived in Murano from Buda, the ancient capital of the kingdom of Hungary. In the 1600s both the Ongaro and Fuga families were included as master glassmakers in the Murano Golden Book, the official list of the nobles of the Republic of Venice, and they both minted the famous Oselle, commemorative coins that the Doge gifted every year to eminent figures of the Most Serene Republic. The coats of arms of the two families, a Hungarian king and a golden lightning bolt, seem today to consolidate a great artisan experience that does not make compromises in meeting industrial demand.

PROTAGONISTS OF THE HISTORY OF MURANO GLASS SINCE THE NINETEENTH CENTURY

From 1852 onwards, the name of the Fuga family has always been associated with the art of the mirror; this was the year the artist and artisan Angelo Fuga began devoting himself to the art of glass-engraving and the creation of the first mirrors. Murano is synonymous with glass and, as abbot Vincenzo Zanetti wrote in his 1874 “Angelo Fuga, His Mirrors and His Murano Workshop”,  the artisan Angelo Fuga, born on this island, loved glass, made his craft with it and made glass famous

Angelo was a tenacious young man, simple but resolved, whose dream was to revive a partially disappeared art. And 1852 is the year in which he started concerning himself with the engraving of glass in the workshop of his uncle Giuseppe Buffi. He later bought a small laboratory in Venice on the bridge of S. Felice where he received his first small commissions: engravings of masks and figures ordered by Venetian antique dealers.

Angelo Fuga began his journey in that dark little room, to which he brought his lathes, tools and his dreams. He had no financial reserves and was not under the protection of any patron, he lived simply and compensated for these shortcomings with the rigorous dedication to his studies, his well-known strong headedness and his iron will. In 1862 the director of the “Industrial Artistic Civic Museum” of Murano, who admired the works of the young artist, commissioned him for an engraved mirror 2.5 meters by 1.7 meters wide. Such a grandiose piece finally allowed him to satisfy his genius, and it was recognized as one of the most majestic among engraved glass pieces of all time. Thanks to his continuous exercise in drawing and the passion that animated him, he managed to refine and modify the baroque style used by the artists of the time creating a new Renaissance style. Thanks to the continuous practice in drawing and the passion that animated him, he managed to refine and modify the baroque style used by the artists of the time creating the new Renaissance style. He was no longer a youngster but a Master of one of the most laborious and complex crafts of all time, into which he initiated his brothers Giuseppe and Luigi. And so, a world of rich reflections opened up to the young Venetian with invitations to the most important exhibitions in the world. These included the invitation to Paris in 1867 and the Murano glass exhibition in 1869 in which the jury appraised his work with the following words: “Angelo Fuga flies above the others like an eagle, he has reached unexpected heights thanks to his good taste, his drawing skills and his aesthetic feeling “.

He participated in exhibitions in London in 1870, in Milan in 1871, in Lyon in 1872 and Vi- enna in 1873. In the following years, he was invited to Germany, Switzerland, Paris and London again. Since anyone who found themselves admiring his mirrors was delighted by them, he won numerous prizes and even further commissions from all over the world reached his workshop. Angelo Fuga’s mirrors went around the world as the mirrors by Ongaro e Fuga have done since 1952. This ancient story with deep roots is the story of the man who started the fascinating art of the mirror as we know it today. This story is about us.

 

TODAY

The creative flair of Giuliano, son of the founders, keeps the techniques, materials and craftsmanship of the past alive and, at the same time, creates a bridge to the future, thanks to collaborations with international designers and artists. We work in Murano because here there is no need to sit and reflect to design a new mirror: because here every cloud and every coloured facade reflected on the waters of the lagoon is the living material from which our creations are born.

For us, creating is not only about the manual crafting of Venetian-style mirrors, but it also includes the design of site-specific installations, collaborations with artists, designers and architects or the restoration and reproduction of ancient mirrors. A famous example of the latter is the restoration of the mirrors of La Fenice theater performed in the 1960s. We have participated in various exhibitions around the world and our mirror “Merletto”, sized 2.80 m × 2.60 m, is part of the permanent exhibition at the illustrious Murano Glass Museum.

Ongaro e Fuga is part of the Promovetro di Murano Consortium – an important consortium that counts among its members Confartigianato Venezia and Confindustria Venezia – which has been working to uphold the image of artistic glass for more than twenty years, in order to preserve, protect and defend the millennial tradition of Murano glass art, and to promote, value and care for proper trade practices with this important cultural heritage on the world market.

This extraordinary talent of the Czech painting scene was born in 1976 in the city of Karviná. After graduating from the Secondary School of Applied Arts in Ostrava, he joined the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague, attending the studio of visual communication lead by professor Jiří David and later the studio of intermedia work lead by professor Milan Knížák. Together with his coursemates Vilém Kabzan, David Adamec, František Matoušek and Micl, he founded the Luxsus group. Špaňhel’s art was indisputably influenced by the world-renowned artist Jiří Georg Dokoupil with whom he also shared a studio on Wenceslas Square in Prague for a period of time. Aside from Prague, Špaňhel was also active in Berlin, where he exhibited at the Bleibtreu Galerie and where he also created a series of paintings in reminiscence of Bohuslav Reynek.

Jakub Špaňhel paints in cycles, which are usually dedicated to one theme. His existing works can be divided into two markedly distinct modes, connected by common features, such as a tendency towards a monochromatic spectrum and formal reduction or a primary emphasis on painting skills. The paintings of the first group are based on the depiction of a particular motif in the painter’s typical gestural style. In addition to the renowned cycle of temple interiors, which constituted his final graduation project, this group also includes a series of nudes, chandeliers, flowers, landscapes, portraits or gas stations and central bank buildings in different countries. He often works on large formats, using photographs or reproductions of paintings as models. The second group of paintings has a minimalist-serial character of mechanically repeated simple elements applied to the canvas utilising paint rollers with patterns including flower pots, crosses, beer glasses, hens, sailboats, ballet dancers, Picasso’s goat, Saint John of Nepomuk or the Chimera.

He participated in most important painting exhibitions of his generation, e.g., Perfect Tense in the Prague Castle Riding School, Berlín – Praha [Berlin – Prague] in the Mánes Gallery; Současná mladá malba [Contemporary young painting] at the Wannieck Gallery in Brno; Art from The Heart at the Power Station of Art in Shanghai, China; Ein Tanz at Hangar-7 in Salzburg, Austria, Rembrandt in Cologne. Of his most important solo exhibitions we mention, among others, the ones held at the Trade Fair Palace of the National Gallery in Prague, the Municipal Library – Prague City Gallery, the Frameless Gallery in London, Situation 74 at the Bleibtreu Galerie in Berlin, Jakub Špaňhel at the Adam Gallery in Brno or Obrazy [Paintings] at the Gallery of Fine Arts in Ostrava – House of Arts, Ostrava.

His works are included in public collections in the National Gallery in Prague, the Eastern Bohemian Gallery in Pardubice, the Klatovy / Klenová Gallery, the Felix Jenewein Gallery in Kutná Hora, the Gallery of the Central Bohemian Region, the Gallery of Fine Arts in Cheb, the Gallery of Fine Arts in Ostrava, the Zlín Gallery and of course in many private collections. His paintings hang not only in Europe but also in China, Dubai and America. The altar painting and fused glass windows in the Church of the Holy Spirit in Ostrava-Zábřeh could be counted among his most important pieces.

OPENING HOURS

Exhibition has ended. Thank you very much for your interest.

TICKETS

General admission             150 CZK incl. VAT
Family tickets                      280 CZK incl. VAT (2 adults plus 1 – 3 children under 15 years)
Children                                 20 CZK incl. VAT (under 10 years)
Seniors 65+ and students  80 CZK incl. VAT (all students with valid ISIC, IYTC, EYCA/EURO<26)

GUIDED TOURS

Guided tours are only in Czech.