Anna Jožová

29. 4. – 15. 7. 2022

Curator: Jan Dotřel

Anna Jožová’s solo exhibition continues in the Kvalitář gallery’s long-term aim of mapping the Czech glass design scene. Although Jožová is still a student, she has already completed a series of over fifteen autonomous vases that manifest exceptional innovative thinking, material experiments, and also themes that demonstrate an awareness of current events. This exhibition is titled Eversium, a variation on the Latin term eversio, which contains several semantic codes leading us to terms including toppling, destruction, extinction, or revolution.

From the global perspective of geological time, extinction is a crucial phenomenon, as it allows for the possibility of the expansion of new species. Some form of extinction has always taken place, throughout the history of Planet Earth, with mass extinctions that changed global conditions having taken place on around thirty occasions since the beginnings of life on Earth. One evolutionary theory is based on the hypothesis that if a giant asteroid hadn’t collided with our planet during the Mesozoic Era, mammals would not have had the opportunity to develop, as the biosphere at the time was dominated by reptiles. Geologically speaking, not much time has passed since then, and yet the climate on our planet has began changing radically. The reason for this change, however, is not an external intervention from space or natural climate change – it is the result of the overpopulation of a particular species of people.

This form of climate change and the way in which we manage the landscape both play a dominant role in Anna Jožová’s work. She has decided to examine the harrowing feelings of distress and hopelessness that arise in response to the industrial transformation of our natural environment, metamorphosing it into various aspects of visual art. Glass is an apt material for this kind of artistic strategy, as its nature directly references the material transformation of sand into amorphous matter, and can thus serve as a medium for the transference of an artistic message par excellence.

Let us now consider in more detail the environmental phenomena that serve as essential inspirations for Anna Jožová. The coast of the sea often provides copious amounts of washed-up waste that engulfs the natural structure of sand. Large chemical plants pump extraneous substances into the water that coalesce to form toxic foam, while tankers emit gigantic oil spills onto the surface of the ocean. Rising temperatures bring about the melting of the icebergs, radically changing the proportion of the phases of water around the globe. One could assume that all these processes cannot be transformed into a positive artistic gesture, but the opposite is, in fact, true. Like an alchemist, Anna Jožová recasts their specific visuality and illustratively transfers them onto the glass-making variations on the walls of her vases. On the surface of the vases in the KETO collection, black glass is tied into a massive crystalline structure that is also coloured by metal oxides. The fluid HELOS vases are reminiscent of the melting of icebergs, while the KAIRO series of hanging objects evoke potential new species of animals. The brand new RUTA series explores the rainbow-like pollution of oil spills. The artist’s capacity to metamorphose negative elements into visual beauty marks her artistic maturity. The exhibition is completed by David Růžička’s site-specific architecture, which is based on a graph by NASA mapping the global temperature on our planet from 1880 until today. The curve of this graph also served as the foundation for some of Jožová’s pieces, illustrating the particular processes of specific environmental changes. The theme of the exhibition thus works as an introspective view of the negative impacts of our existence on our home planet. Nevertheless, the consequences and changes also contain the possibility of hope, just like the extinction of the reptiles. Anna Jožová, too, found inspiration in ecological catastrophes, recasting them as optical beauty.

Exhibition architecture: David Růžička