10. December 2019 - 01. March 2020
Opening: 10th of November at 5 pm.
Curator of the exhibition: Mgr. Vít Jakubíček
1st floor of the building 14
The exhibition Sense versus Sensibility: Zlín Industrial Design 1918–1958 is part of an extensive joint project organized by the staff of the Faculty of Multimedia Communications of Tomas Bata University in Zlín, the National Technical Museum Prague and the Gallery of Fine Arts in Zlín mapping design in technical disciplines during the exis- tence of Czechoslovakia. The dominant axis of the exhibition is the his- tory of the School of Arts in Zlín. The text of Vít Jakubíček focuses on the circumstances and motivations of the founding of the school, the period of its existence and on the fading of its influence on Czechoslo- vak design in the 1950s.
A wide range of scholarly and popular literature has been published about the School of Arts in Zlín, but individual authors have often discussed traditional simplifications or even fallacies, overestimating the significance of Makovský‘s R50 revolver lathe as a sort of starting point of domestic industrial design and of the art school itself, linking the decline of the importance of the institution to the rise of commu- nist power in Czechoslovakia. Based on a detailed study of archival materials, Vít Jakubíček relativizes this view, documenting the evolu- tionary nature of the formation of the hot-bed of the School of Arts in the process of the development of the Zlín-based Baťa Company.
Jakubíček also points out that, paradoxically, it was the post-war, albeit short-lived period of the existence of the school, that fulfilled to some extent the idea of directing its teaching towards what we today call design. The continuity of the influence of the School of Arts in Zlín was maintained mainly by Zdeněk Kovář, one of its first graduates, a prominent designer and founder of design education
in Czechoslovakia, through the activity of machine and tool forming department, founded in 1947. The last section of the paper deals with the success at the World EXPO 1958, which represented an import- ant expression of recognition of the results of the twenty-year history of Zlín design, the initial period of which was often marked by unful- filled expectations and clashes of daring visions with complex reality. During this time, however, Zlín’s pioneers of the “new profession of in- dustrial design” managed not only to avoid copying foreign designs, but also to come up with their own and authentic concept, which was later practically applied in the form of specific industrial products.
Given the obvious parallels in the focus of its studies with the School of Arts in Zlín, we have also decided to include a contribution by Klára Prešnajderová and Maroš Schmidt , our colleagues from the Slovak Design Museum, dedicated to the School of Arts and Crafts in Bratislava. While the Zlín educational institution was established on the threshold of World War II in 1939, the school in Bratislava was founded in the period of the culminating euphoria of heroic modern- ism in 1928, disappearing with the outbreak of the war. Both institu- tions had in common an anti-academic character of tuition, a Rus- kinian pursuit of the symbiosis of art and everyday life, educational methods based on dual teaching of crafts and art, and a blending of exercises in art and practical training. Both institutions managed to engage outstanding personalities of art and design. Naturally, there were many differences. The Bratislava School of Arts and Crafts relied more on domestic production traditions, the specific feature of the School of Arts in Zlín was the typical Baťa pragmatism, em- phasizing the practical usability of graduates and teachers in its own company. The schools‘ directors Josef Vydra and František Kadlec has a strong mental affinity, evidenced by their recently discovered direct communication.