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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: )

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.

Useful websites –

 Nova by Anne Bevan, Photo by Michael Wolchover. (source

On my search for my next Artist of the Month, I’ve known that the marine life and exploration of it in the underwater sculptures of spectacular Jason DeCaires Taylor  is a theme I want to get back to. What I didn’t know, was that connection with the sea will come so soon in my next artist! As it normally happens, I tend to come across my Artist of the Month on my walks in London. I was passing Royal British Sculptors Society; I’ve never visited their exhibitions before, but always wanted to. My eye caught a flyer outside. Round looking, texturized object seemed irresistible to me. I made a note in my diary, with a name. It was Edinburgh based  Anne Bevan and her Ghost. 

Building of Royal British Society of Sculptors, South Kensington, London. (Source their website)

I entered the exhibition space of RBS in South Kensington. Things Unspoken (Thu, 24/05/2012 – Fri, 13/07/2012, 12 noon – 17.30) is the exhibition of two artists Andrea Roe and Anne Bevan, curated by Jane Warrilow. Both artists have presented their ideas in separate ways.  Andrea Roe’s work examines the nature of human and animal biology, behaviour, communication and interaction within specific ecological contexts and Anne Bevan’s work has often been concerned with water, the sea, and the idea of ‘making the invisible visible’. I was amazed by Bevan’s works, which seems to speak to me, that’s why I focus on her today! Originality of her ideas has been refreshing and inspiring. All works in Things Unspoken are presented immaculately and I strongly recommend you see the show running until 13/07/2012. Call the gallery for more T:+44 (0)20 7373 8615 or visit their website. I talked to Anne Bevan on Skype about her work and processes.

Artist Anne Bevan.

She is a cheerful, enthusiastic, and easy to talk to person. Anne Bevan is originally from Orkney where she continues to have strong links. She is based in Edinburgh and is a lecturer in the School of Sculpture at Edinburgh College of Art. Bevan is artistically exploring hidden or invisible aspects of the environment, environmental themes (as inseparable part of everyday life), either under the ground, in the water or on the tidal edge through mediums of sculpture, video installations and photography. She told me she is interested in prototypes and models, metamorphoses of the natural movement, experiments with the textures and surfaces, explorations of new and undiscovered life, or the one which has been forgotten.

I’ll start with her work in Things Unspoken exhibition, Ghost – 3D enlarged acrylic print of planktonic foraminifer, which was made using a CT scan. It’s a single-celled organism, which forms part of the marine zoo-plankton. These can be found deep in the sea, in the sand and sedimentary rocks, as its particles. I learnt that Bevan has been able to 3D scan this particle with some help of the scientists at the University of Edinburgh. She also worked with 3D plaster and clay models of these organisms, accessing research collections of the Natural History Museum in London. From her experience, as she told me, working with the Museums and scientists is incredibly helpful, as the research centres are more than happy to assist. She finds exchange of interdisciplinary ideas and elements in collaborations very rewarding and challenging.

 Ghost by Anne Bevan, Ian Butler. Photo by Michael Wolchover.

Bevan is in my mind a queen of collaboration. She doesn’t so much focus on working with other artists, but works with above mentioned scientists (Dr Kate Darling), engineers, designers, furniture makers, writers (Janice Galloway), musicians and performer artists, scientific glass blowers and so on. She loves to use different kinds of materials, and collaborating with the wide range of professionals helps her to bring out the full potential of those to perfection. It’s about a dialog between the people, as Bevan sees it.

Moon Pool by Anne Bevan, photo by Michael Wolchover.

Moon Pool (2 m diametre) is another Anne Bevan’s work I’m fascinated by! This public artwork was commission in Tyrebagger Forest, Abendeershire, Scotland, 2002. The ‘pool’ is surrounded by lines of poetry from the writer Janice Galloway, which from a distance, merge to form a water mark or tide line.

 Moon Pool (detail) by Anne Bevan, photo by Michael Wolchover.

Process: Anne Bevan tried to make cast of water and the waves. This rather challenging thought has developed, as the best way to do this was by casting the sand directly, which is an imprint, mark of the water in many ways! I just love the originality of approaching this process! Bevan told me, that when they were trying to cast the sand, firstly by using plaster (in four pieces), the conditions had to be perfect. The low tide, the wind,  it all took some time to settle and shape and finally was just right for the process to begin. I couldn’t resist asking for a photograph, when she told me that at the end of the casting, the weather has taken a bad turn, and big storm and lightening with thunder arrived! Imagine how exciting it must have been! After a few stages of casting process were finished, finally the bronze sculpture was made and positioned in the forest. I’d love to see this work in its own natural setting. Meanwhile, have a look at the photos…

Anne Bevan and her helpers casting the sand in plaster for Moon Pool, caught in the dark storm and flashes of lightning in the sky. The cast is in four pieces. 

Undercover (2000) was her solo exhibition at The Fruit Market Gallery in Edinburgh. The project that at first jumped out from the other works for me with its intensity of the objects’ blue colour. However, more I asked about it, more I realized I love it not only visually, but conceptually as well. I asked Anne Bevan, what are those blue wooden looking objects on top of wooden stands? To my surprize, they were jesmonite casts of old wooden water pipes! The whole Undercover project is about themes of water and where it comes from, water something we all probably take for granted is full of secrets. The new plastic water pipes these days come in blue, hence the choice of the colour for the art-works. Did you know all water pipes used to be made out of wood in pre-Victorian times?

Uncovered pipes by Anne Bevan, Photo by Michael Wolchover.

Listen to  my monthly slot featured as a part of Rosemary Laryea‘s  Art and Culture Show on Colourful Radio on Thursday, 28th June 2012 at 12.10pm, where I will introduce the amazing work of Anne Bevan and find out even more.

If you miss it, don’t worry,  now you can listen to it again here:

Thanks for reading and listening. If you’re interested, don’t hesitate to visit the included links to explore further. Have a good day!


Shan Hur, Circle on the wall, No Format Space, 2012

I’m very excited I can introduce my next ‘Artist of the Month’, award winning Korean artist living in London, Shan Hur. I see Hur as an sculptor with a unique artistic vision. He uses concrete, wood, fine porcelain, musical instruments, basketball, and other objects, that become part of his structures – pillars, cracks in the walls, broken pillars… His outstanding sculptural installations are mostly temporary works, not in their existence, but in their position. They are moved in the space, and adapted as inseparable part of it, and when the show is over, they are moved out and kept carefully crated for next installation. (Yes, I’m talking a whole pillar being moved, a whole wall uninstalled!) They are partly inspired by neutral spaces we walk by daily, such as building sites, architectural features and places undergoing some form of a transition and partly by Hur’s background and childhood, his sense of belonging and position.

Shan Hur is a little bit of a hero to me. I think it takes a lot of confidence, to install a pillar in the space, where at first sight it looks like it belongs there, standing almost unnoticed. However after further examination of it, it simply transforms the way how we look at art, space and both combined. I admire Hur’s work, because it somehow directly speaks to me in the language that is confident and well established. His works are skilful and impeccably planned, with no space for error.

(Source, Shan Hur website.)


 Shan Hur, Broken Pillar, Gazelli Art House, Bodhi, 2012

His work is mysterious and playful. Fragments of fairy-tales, archeology and history are strongly resonating when studying his pieces, but first you must find them. It doesn’t take long before you notice, something is not quite right. Alarmingly a pillar you are standing next to turns in to art. Is it perhaps broken? You may ask, but soon realizing, that a beautiful porcelain vase is set in the pillar! How is that possible?! More signs of action is on the floor, in a form of some rubble. Are these remaining  pieces left there on purpose, while the creator had been trying to excavate this treasure vase out of the pillar? Is he coming back? It makes you question a lot of things, especially the process of how these works are made. (Don’t be tempted to take a crumble of the concrete on the floor back home, it is part of the work!) I was referencing  an artwork called ‘Broken Pillar’ 2012, Gazelli Art House exhibition ‘Bodhi’ that closes April 19, 2012 in Dover Street, London, where I discovered Hur’s art.

                                             Shan Hur, segment of Broken Pillar, Gazelli Art House, Bodhi, April 2012


I found out many interesting things about his artistic vision, background to his creative soul and he also answered some questions about production of his pieces, while talking to me at No Format space, during exhibition The Function of the Oblique – Part 1, in South East London. If you are curious, you can listen to find out much more about his inspirations in my live introduction of Hur and his work on Thursday, 19th April at 12.10pm on Colourful Radio. My monthly slot features as a part of Rosemary Laryea‘s “Art and Culture Show”. If you miss it, don’t worry, you can listen to it again here (added below). I’m certainly looking forward to it! Thanks for reading and listening, and I’ll be back next month with another ‘Silvia Krupinska’s Artists of the Month’!


Shan Hur, Silvia Krupinska in front of Circle on the wall, No Format, April 2012

To find out more about the artist, visit his website for details of awards, exhibitions and his artist statement. Full page of images of his works are available to look at as well.

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