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Tomáš Hlavička’s unique style of fusing glass and metal into sculptural forms sets him apart. At first sight they are dramatic and sometimes stark contemporary masterpieces, but Hlavička brings simple forms to life, creating microcosmic worlds of color and texture that constantly change depending on the source of light and the angle.
How many legendary painters, writers, sculptors and poets would have gone unnoticed if it were not for the inspiration of their muse? In the case of Tomáš Hlavička, had he not fallen in love he may never have created a single glass sculpture.
Born in Prague, Czechoslovakia in the autumn of 1950 Hlavička spent his youth drawing and painting. He was encouraged by his mother to become an artist, yet he decided to take a slightly different direction and began his study of architecture and interior design at the University of Architecture in Prague.
It was at the University that he met and fell in love, changing his artistic and professional life. ‘Even though I worked as an architect I was always attracted to the world of arts and crafts. However, fate has a way of playing with us all. And in my case the result was that I fell in love with a girl whose father was a glass artist named Pavel Hlava.’
For those not familiar with Pavel Hlava’s, in the world of art glass, this event would be akin to marrying the daughter of Pablo Picasso. Hlava, who died in 2003, was a groundbreaking sculptor and one of the founders of the Czechoslovak School of Modern Glass.
For the next fourteen years Hlavička worked both as an architect/interior designer and as an apprentice to Hlava, playing an important part in the execution of his sculptures and learning how to work with the technical manipulation of glass. "I worked with Hlava for many years as an assistant. He had a large influence (technically speaking) on me. I did not study glass formally; today, I see that as a certain advantage.”
In 1990 Hlavička left his schooled profession and became a full time glass sculptor. He moved away from gluing metals into glass and began to fuse them. This evolved into the use of silver in his pieces, a metal not suitable for gluing.
His architectural training is evident in the precision of his work and his approach. He builds his rather than forming them in the traditional sense. He does not blow glass, he constructs with pieces of flat glass, fusing metals, cleaning, cutting, polishing and gluing the materials. ‘Glass art is hard work,’ he says. ‘There are many technologies and processes that are used.’
The longer one studies Hlavička’s works the more interesting they become. His unique style sets him apart as an artist of international distinction. There is a sense that something very special and ethereal has happened, turning cold glass and metal into objects which appear to so natural in living environments.
Hlavička’s approach is romantic given his severe style. He describes himself as being ‘seduced’ by glass. ‘Glass is a beautiful material. It allows me to realize my goals, which are to combine art, design and craft… Shapes and colors unite with my feelings and inspirations and take form as my works.’ He believes that fate and love are part of his destiny. ‘The ideas come from nowhere. I do not arrive at them by concentrated thinking which was part of my profession as an architect was. Now, I allow muses to do the work.’