Earlier last week during Lodz Design Festival, the Czech Republic-based creative group Okolo has presented this intriguing exhibition focusing on the Czechoslovak table lamp design created in the second half of the 20th century. Titled ‘Light Sculptures, Czech Lights 1950 – 1990’, the exhibition ‘comprised a curatorial selection of several table lamps made during this period in the former Czechoslovakia, or in the territory of the present-day Czech Republic.’ Not a retrospective, it was viewed by its curators as ‘an unrestricted selection that depicts the development of the style of this typology on the example of several prominent designers or unique individual designs.’
About the exhibition:
‘The installation starts chronologically in the 1950s, when the Czechoslovak industrial and interior design had an advantage because it was not forced to conform strictly to the period’s socialist realism and historicism in such areas as the fine arts. In the field of lighting design, Czech designers tended toward the style of international modernism, which had dominated throughout the architecture and design of almost the entire civilized world.
‘Lighting design, in this context, is often reminiscent of principles typical of modern visual arts, primarily of abstractionism and the upcoming kinetic art, which was suppressed by socialist realism in the former Czechoslovakia. Thus, lamps – like the period’s glass production – became one of the few possible materializations of modernist ideas, which had been fully repressed for some time in the field of fine arts. Lights are delicate statues with a luminous function.’
‘The exhibition presents several fundamental works of Czech design from the second half of the twentieth century and partially documents its stylistic development on the single typological example. Most objects on display are presented in such a curatorial selection for the first time. Through their joint context, we strive to rediscover a neglected chapter in the history of Czech design and typology of table lamps.’