Rony Plesl (*1965, lives and works in Prague, Czech Republic) ranks among top internationally acknowledged artists in the field of glass sculpture. His unique oeuvre emerges from his deep knowledge of quality glassmaking and the technologies he employs in his original designs and primarily in his artistic work. In collaboration with glass professionals, he shifts the perspectives of the possible in the medium of glass both for contemporary art and for his own body of work.
Rony Plesl is a leading Czech artist, sculptor, designer, and professor. Plesl’s work is strongly solitary both in the field of visual arts and in the field of design. Rather than challenging current trends, he has followed impulses from various disciplines throughout his life. Plesl explores the possibilities of glass sculpture, deliberately approaching it as a distinctive medium. He respects the work of his predecessors – Professor Libenský and others, who founded this relatively young discipline in the Czech Republic – while also respecting the history of the craft.
Plesl’s sources of inspiration are based on his deep knowledge of art history and admiration for old masters. He has always been fascinated by the geometry and intimacy of the Italian Renaissance and the architectural opulence of the Baroque. At the start of his career, he spent four years in Venice, where he learned from Italian glass masters. He considers this period of his life essential for his work. To this day, he fondly remembers his contemplations on sacral architecture, which inspired him by its classical proportions as well as its exuberance of colored detail. The matte finish of the colors masks the natural transparency of glass. Plesl materializes visually powerful “sacred” objects from this amorphous material much like a sculptor carves out a statue.
The monumentality of his work is enhanced by his sculptural technique of cast glass – completely unique in the world – which allows the creation of practically any shape. This unique process consists in casting glass as if it were bronze, and Rony was the first professional artist to use this technique on a large scale. The technology gives him a “free hand” – the creative process begins with models made of paper, plaster or even objects found in nature, which ultimately become artefacts in and of themselves. The sculptures made of cast glass are produced in collaboration with the Czech brand Sin Studio Gallery. The sense of detail and the precision grinding, typical for the Czech glassmaking school, are paramount in Plesl’s work, although they never supersede the conceptual ideas behind the art. It is yet another step towards the emancipation of the medium of glass sculpture; towards a unique definition of where the limits of contemporary art can be pushed.
In 2018, the ground-breaking technology of cast glass was presented for the first time at the Fire Walk with Me exhibition at the Renaissance space of Queen Anne’s Summer Palace in Prague. A turning point in Plesl’s work came with the exhibition of a large glass installation called Sacred Geometry at Santa Chiara, an Italian Renaissance chapel in London’s Victoria and Albert Museum in 2019. The sculpture reflects the artist’s passion for Renaissance geometry – the transparent glass logs are perfectly hexagonal in shape, like a magical natural formation. Combined with the uranium branches, they form an abstract landscape where the material world blends with the spiritual one.
Uranium glass is one of the key elements in Plesl’s work. It appears both in his art and in his product design. Uranium reacts to ultraviolet radiation and the sculptures literally glow in dark spaces, creating a magical effect. Uranium glass has been produced in Bohemia since the Baroque era, however, due to the difficult production process, it is hardly used today. This link to the Baroque is substantial for the artist’s way of thinking as well as for the context of his work.
Since 2008, Plesl is Head of the Studio of Glass at the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague. In 2017, he was appointed Professor of Design and Architecture.
Artworks by Rony Plesl are represented in public collections in the Czech Republic: Museum of Decorative Arts, Prague; North Bohemian Museum, Liberec; North Bohemian Gallery, Liberec; Museum of Glass, Jablonec; Moravian Gallery, Brno. Internationally: Corning Museum of Glass, USA; Glass Museum Lette, Coesfeld, Germany; Alexander Tutsek Foundation, Munich, Germany; Jan van der Togt Museum, Amstelveen, Netherlands; Cobra Museum, Amstelveen, Netherlands. As well as in multiple private collections across the world.
He received multiple awards for his work: Good Design Award (2019, 2013, 2010), Red Dot Award (2019, 2007), Czech Grand Design (2011) and others.
Barovier & Toso
Denizli by Pasabahce
Ongaro e Fuga
Wine Food The Italians