Petr Stanický’s site-specific installation represents Czechia at London Biennale


The British capital is currently hosting the third edition of the London Biennale, the first international art event following the easing of Covid-19 restrictions in the country. The Czech Republic is represented by visual artist Petr Stanický, who created a site-specific installation, inspired by Somerset House, where the event takes place.

The annual London Biennale got underway last week after being postponed by a whole year due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. The third edition of the month-long event presents around 500 projects from 60 countries across six continents. The only artist nominated by curator Es Devlin to represent the Czech Republic is Petr Stanický, head of the Glass Design studio at the Faculty of Multimedia Communications of Tomáš Baťa University in Zlín. Mr. Stanický, a graduate from the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague, is a classically trained sculptor who works predominantly with glass. His work is architectural in nature and is concerned with space, lights and reflection and the opportunities derived from the material he uses and the specific spaces for which he creates his work.

For the third edition of the London Biennale, he created a large site specific installation, called Planes of Perception. It plays with the geometric structures of Somerset House, a former royal palace in London, and presents the viewer with different ways of perceiving reality through architecture.

Speaking to Czech Radio’s correspondent in Britain, Mr Stanický said his main inspiration for his work was the genius loci of the venue, more specifically its windows:

“I tried to use the shape of the window to bring it inside. It is carried by an aluminium frame, which has a small opening, so it in turn transports us back outside.

“It is like two energies, two movements, or an interaction that allows us to see something in a new way. Something that is already there, but we see it from a different perspective.”

The aluminium window frames are connected by a tube, which resembles a telescope, through which visitors can peep outside.

“It is an architectural element. The whole installation is built with contemporary materials and structural elements – steel and aluminium.

“Light is something permanent, that has always been here. And if we cut across the aluminium tube through which we can look outside, it is in fact a window pane.”

Petr Stanický regularly presents his works abroad. Last time he exhibited in London was in 2017, when two of his site-specific installations were displayed at The Victoria & Albert Museum as part of London Design Festival.

This time, the experience was slightly different, due to the ongoing restrictions related to Covid-19, which forced him to go into quarantine upon his arrival in London.

"We had to go through a five-day quarantine and maybe three PCR tests before we could go out. We were constantly being supervised and checked by phone calls.”

Mr. Stanický’s installation can be seen in London’s Sommerset House until the end of June.

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