Glass creations by Hungarian artist on show

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Hungarian artist Zoltan Viczan introduces his first exhibition in Shanghai after living in the city for four years. [Photo/China Daily]

Hungarian artist Zoltan Viczan has revealed his love and memories of his homeland in a series of new glass artworks at the exhibition, Layers of Hungary, which is taking place at Picnic Gallery in downtown Shanghai from Oct. 13 to Nov. 15.

According to Szillard Bolla, consul general of Hungary in Shanghai, the exhibition marks the first cultural event the consulate has hosted following the outbreak of the novel coronavirus.

This is the first time the 41-year-old artist, who has lived in Shanghai for four years, is presenting his creations in the city.

Born in Hungary in 1979, Viczan began his studies in glass art at an early age in Budapest and has practiced the art form for nearly 30 years. He is known for having developed his own style and techniques for glass engraving.

Traditional glassmaking in the West originated in Italy, where the royal court forced master craftspeople to live on an island and create fine wares, Viczan says.

"Some managed to escape, despite of the risks of assassination, and they took the technique to other parts of Europe, such as Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia," Viczan siad at the preview of the exhibition on Oct. 12.

Viczan made his foray into Asia 10 years ago, spending four years in Japan and two years in Hong Kong before moving to Shanghai in 2016. While many expatriates socialized with compatriots to overcome homesickness, Viczan chose to represent memories of his homeland through his art.

[Photo provided to China Daily]

In the exhibition, visitors will see a map of Hungary sculpted in cast glass and decorated with traditional Hungarian glass patterns, and works depicting the city of Budapest and Lake Balaton, the largest lake in Central Europe.

The works on show reflect Viczan's unique methods, which involve removing the protective and reflective layers of the mirror to create a window on the surface that reveals the layer underneath. Placing multiple layers of these windows in front of each other, he creates a 3D effect that changes when viewed from different angles.

The artist believes that this is a good metaphor for the underlying idea about people's perception of reality.

"We live in an infinitely complex world that we have no way to fully understand," he says.

"Through our experiences, we form a worldview that becomes our reality, which will be challenged when we are exposed to new ideas. These layers of realizations are the signs of our personal development, recalling the beauty of the calm, flat water which starts rippling after throwing a pebble in it."

On the second floor of the gallery, Zoltan created a unique showcase of his glass sculptures with engravings. Several glass globes are placed in front of spotlights, which project on the wall the patterns and pictures engraved on the glass balls.

These images, such as a fluttering butterfly, a school of fish and a comet in a miniature cosmos, are blown up by the spotlight and projected vividly on the wall. Zoltan has invited visitors to touch the artwork, rotate the glass balls to project different details, play with the shadowy images and take selfies.

Picnic Gallery at 190 Yueyang Road in downtown Shanghai's Xuhui district is no more than 1 year old. According to Raya Zhou, director of the gallery: "We have found the borderline between life and art has become more obscure in the modern age, and we hope the gallery can help to bring people infinitely close to the artwork."

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