I’ve an enormous pleasure to introduce to you this month’s Artist of the Month, Slovakian-born, Tomáš Gabzdil Libertíny. I came across his work at the Exhibition Road Show in London this month. He’d exhibited his charismatic architectural sculpture, The Agreement, which like many of his other pieces, was produced with help of beesThis high profile event was full of arty big numbers and pop-up performances. Read more about The Exhibition Road Show here.

When I talked to Libertíny about his work, what struck me was the extend of his ideas in his art. The energy of his pieces isn’t just floating on top for me, I feel there is all rounded in-depth elemental balance present. The strong concept, experimental and skilful laborious qualities, manifest themselves in the objects with an aura of originality and respect. You guest right! I’m keen on his work, hence he’s my Artist of the Month!

Tomáš Libertíny next to his work The Agreement. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Libertíny was born in Slovakia in 1979. In 1999, he enrolled in the Industrial Design Department at the Technical University in Slovakia. In 2001, he was awarded George Soros’s Open Society Institute Scholarship to study at The University of Washington in Seattle, where he explored painting and sculpture. Shortly afterwards, he continued his study at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Bratislava in painting and conceptual design. Libertiny received his MFA in 2006 Design Academy Eindhoven. In fall of 2007, he found his studio in Rotterdam where he is focused on exploring design strategies in art and science. In 2009 he was awarded The Designer of The Future during Art Basel. His works have recently been acquired by the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Museum Boijmans van Beuningen and Cincinatti Art Museum. Libertíny is also a frequent speaker at conferences and a visiting lecturer. (source:  http://www.tomaslibertiny.com )

Tomáš Libertíny, The Agreement. Photo courtesy of the artist.

The Agreement is a fusion of artist’s planned and precise architectural structure with the several elements from the world of nature, where the main part play thousands of bees. Made in some stages, the bees and their queen had settled and lived on the structure, building what they know best, the honey-comb. This living piece was absolutely amazing to walk around for me, at The Exhibition Road Show. I felt like I was watching a theatrical performance behind the glass. I also appreciated that the well-being of the bees was considered. They had the choice to stay or go, leaving the structure through a hole, and other features included the air-conditioning of the unit. That way, the piece hadn’t become destructive, but quite the contrary. I know that this unique collaboration with bees didn’t come by chance. I discussed it with the author, and quite clearly he had became an expert not only in art, architecture and design elements but also in bee-behaviour and their pre-given, instinctive actions for survival and life creation.

Tomáš Libertíny, The Paper Vase, 2007
Paper, Woodglue, 30 x 25 x 25 cm. Photo courtesy of the artist.

It’s another example of Tomáš Gabzdil Libertíny’s work. It is made by layering square sheets of paper with wood-glue and pressing those into a something looking like a paper brick, thick paper square. The thick paper-wood-glue square object is attached into a spinning wood-turning machine, and it spins it very fast. It is shaped, shaved and filed into a vase, with help of chisels, sand paper… Very important thing is that each sheet has a print of a tree on it. As the shaving of the paper come down, reducing the thickness in some places, the pixels of the trees on the papers become exposed, and they create the decoration. The decoration is exposed on the exterior and embedded in the interior on each sheet, symbol of the deeper inner meaning. The act of repetition of elements, repetition of tasks and manipulation of the material creates a meaningful elegant and sensual object. The artist told me, that this is a symbol of spiritual and philosophical element in his work. Time consuming, labouring process of making of the object helps to create a relationship with the maker, observer…

I see the full circle of a tree in all the stages of the transformation, and in the final result. In my research about Libertíny, I came across this phrase, defining his work and studio: ” Intellectual investigations – elegant presentations.” I couldn’t agree more, looking at The Paper Vase!

I’ll be introducing Tomáš Gabzdil Libertíny’s work live in my slot Artist of the Month on Thursday, 23rd August at 12.10, featured as a part of Rosemary Laryea‘s  Art and Culture Show on Colourful Radio. Amongst other things, I’ll describe another Libertíny’s piece The Vessel #1, which I saw in FUMI gallery in London. Join us here on this link, or listen to it here later, as a recording. Thanks.




Tomáš Libertíny, The Vessel #1, 2011
beeswax, glass, alumnium, 86 x 86 x 86 cm (cabinet), 50 x 35 x 35 cm (vessel),
Photo René Spitz.

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