Václav Cigler

Václav Cigler


Václav Cigler learned to respect the order of forms and have regard for the requirements of space already from his professor at the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague, Josef Kaplicky. For Cigler space became part of a dialogue through argument in explaining standpoints. It is also for this reason that he doesn’t name his works too illustratively in order to provide the viewer with enough freedom for interpretation. For him a piece of art work is an incentive to find wider connotations in viewing the world or in looking into his own heart. He starts to specialize in the topic of the relationship between landscape and man at the beginning of the 1960s. He presents man in spatial situations in order to observe and then isolate specific feelings in him. In the beginning, he does so through paths, trajectories or connecters that are supposed to make a person’s ordinary life special – create a place for meditation and silence for him (Sacred Space, 2002, Meetings, 2003; Zwinger Space, 2005; Meeting Place, 2009). He designs glass footbridges on water, station in a treetop, still life and hiding places in the sky, etc. 

His desire for order also relates to his interest in division of the world according to functions, final organization and subordination to the human factor. In his work we can find design of the Earth with defined areas for places of history, production, recreation and restoration to original nature (Evaluation of the Earth’s Surface for a New Plan for Living, Production and Recreation, 1962), as well as his utopian drawings called aerohouses (Study for the Project of Navigation Systems, 1962; Confrontation of the Structure of an Existing Town with a Proposed Structure of Aerohouses, 2008) or his projects for economical housing (Project for Satellite Housing within the Landscape, 60.I.; Urbanistic Plan for Housing Units, 90.I.). Due to the strong motivation of his close friends Stanislav Libenský and Jindřich Chalupecký he became the head of the Glass in Architecture Studio at the Academy of Fine Arts in Bratislava between the years 1965 to 1979. It was also Chalupecký who organized his first independent exhibition at the Špálova Gallery in 1970.

Cigler chose primarily water, light and glass as the defining media of his theses. At the end of the 1950s he started to experiment with optical glass, which brought him new shape, colour and light possibilities (Half Egg, 90.I.; Glass Pillar, 2004). He often works with reflections, absorption and other deformations (Jacob’s Ladder, 2004; Raft, 2007; Two Circular Reflective Spaces, 2008). Water is also an instrument for repetitions of reflections for him, but also a medium with specific qualities. For example, rippling is for Cigler the key motivator evoking human heartbeat and rhythm of life – a media which pacifies and harmonizes (proposal of a water sculpture for the Louisiana World Exposition contest, 1982; Rippled Water Surface, 2008). His work is based on works inspired by humanizing shapes representing tracks of man in paradisal nature (Earth Surface with an Oasis of Greenery in the Shape of an Imprint of Lips, 1967; Study for the project of the earth surface with an imprint of a finger, 1967). He gradually aims his studies more and more to expressing precise geometric forms in order to emphasize, as a contrast, the flowing character of landscape, to express the purity of space or to raise the mutual impact of space and man (Ground Plan Study of a Monastery, 90.I; Space in the Shape of a Labyrinth Designated for Meeting and Sitting, 90.I; Composition of Prisms, 90.I.; Spiral on a Water Surface, Place of Mediation, 1992; Curved Line, 1995; Relationships, 2000). 

Eva Slunečková, 2014