Glasmuseum Lette - Aufbruch - Ungarns junge Glasszen

Taking Off – Hungary’s Young Glass Scene

(11 May – 01 September 2019)

Hungary’s glass scene is still young, and it’s off to a grand start.

Masterpieces by Hungarian glass artists are now in high demand, and major international museums and private collectors often have to wait a long time to acquire world-class works. This wave of interest comes as no surprise, as many Hungarian artists have already won top international prizes.

Nevertheless, glass art in Hungary has had to find its own unique path, which could not take its cue from the international studio glass movement. Although there were some folk art traditions and small-scale glassmaking, mass production dominated the country’s glass industry from around 1948 to 1990. Afterwards, many glassworks were forced to shut down due to privatisation, and thus they did not play an important role for either the industry or training in contemporary glass art.

Of enormous importance by contrast is the first-class education that has been available in Hungary since the 1950s and 60s at technical schools, academies and the Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design Budapest (MOME). Zoltán Bohus, master, teacher and pioneer, has been a seminal figure for the development of autonomous glass art in Hungary, rapidly rising to world fame with his architectural sculptures made of cold-worked glass.

Surprisingly, the country’s glass art has yet to attract much recognition in Hungary itself. Hungarian museums for the most part show only design glass and display more interest in antique pieces than in modern studio glass. Although there are a number of active professional glass artists in Hungary, most of them work alone in their own studios and workshops. It is difficult for them to network with each other because there are very few specialised galleries, exhibitions or fairs where artists might freely exchange ideas and find mutual inspiration. Moreover, most of the pieces on display make their way straight to foreign galleries. The sole glass gallery – the Hefter Gallery – is located in the western town of Pannonhalma. Otherwise, works by Hungary’s glass artists can be found only in a handful of art galleries that do not specialise in glass. This means that the artists don’t often get the chance to see the work of their colleagues.

The Hungarian Glass Arts Society (HGS), founded in 1996, is the most active organisation devoted to autonomous glass art. Since 2012, it has been mounting the internationally acclaimed “HuGlass” exhibition every three years. The aim is to present the various areas of glass art to the public and to give members the opportunity to show their work in a professional context in order to attract the attention of the art market. Artistic work in glass is extremely versatile in Hungary, but all artists share a high professional standard in applying glass techniques and processes and the desire to develop their own personal form of visual expression.

Our new exhibition is devoted to presenting this young and lively glass scene to a wider audience. Around 55 works by 27 artists will be on view – including sculptures, objects and installations by both world-renowned artists and promising representatives of the younger generation. All of them are members of the Hungarian Glass Arts Society (HGS).

Our sincere thanks to the Hungarian artist and curator Zsuzsanna Kóródi, who displayed great

dedication in making this presentation of Hungarian glass art possible.