Václav Šerák (1931) is an outstanding figure of Czech and European ceramics. He dedicates himself to various fields of ceramic sculpture and design. A specific feature of his work is the overlapping of themes from sculpture into design and their parallel handling. The main themes taken over into the two fields are fragments of architecture: construction from clay plates with an impression of a structure or an impression of fabric; a turned, deconstructed relief semicircle; a twisted column with a strikingly colored surface. The dynamically conceived form, generous proportions, appropriateness of detail, and expressiveness of formal and coloristic conception of his sculptures are typical features of the work of Václav Šerák. His work, which goes beyond the usual conceptual framework of ceramics, has inspired and influenced developments in this field in Europe and overseas.
In the early 1960s, Václav Šerák began to collaborate with porcelain manufacturers as a designer. He familiarized himself in detail with this field as an apprentice at a plant in Merklín that manufactured high-voltage circuit breakers. Throughout his life, he has been interested in technical aspects of the making of silicate materials, and thanks to his thorough knowledge about them and his experiments with materials and shapes, he has come up with innovations that he has applied working in the studio and in his original designs. He has also applied his original, monumental, and expressive style to works incorporated into architecture since the early 1990s in collaboration with the architect Bohumil Chalupníček, and somewhat nontraditionally in snow and ice sculptures together with Jiří Laštovička and Petr Říha. In 1966, he founded the International Symposium of Ceramics in Bechyně together with Lubor Těhník, Pravoslav Rada, and Bohumil Dobiáš, Jr. It is the longest continually existing symposium on the European continent.
In 1990 Václav Šerák became the leader of the Studio of Ceramics and Porcelain at the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague, where he was appointed to a professorship in 1992. In the atmosphere following the revolution, he introduced students to developments in ceramic sculpture and design from the recent past beyond the borders of Czechoslovakia. Šerák’s pupils now have great influence over Czech design, and it is no coincidence that the academy and university studios in Bohemia and Slovakia working with ceramics are lead by Daniel Piršč, Antonín Tomášek, Gabrilel Vach a Maxim Velčovský.
Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague
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