Eva Eisler: The Homecoming? 2003-2011

Article  /  Artists   Essays
Published: 01.04.2016
Eva Eisler: The Homecoming? 2003-2011.
Petra Matějovičová
Edited by:
Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague and Arbor vitae societas publishers
Edited at:
Edited on:

© By the author. Read Copyright.

This text is the fourth chapter of the text written by Petra Matějovičová at the monographic publication Eva Eisler of the edition series Design - Profiles - Key Figures on Czech Artists edited by Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague.

Who is Eva Eisler? An artist whose work always exhibits clear ties to architecture and the ability to shape the world around us, the space we live in, but who happened to find her primary medium of artistic expression in jewellery-through objects that are barely larger than the palm of the hand and are perceived in direct relation to the human body.
     Around the turn of the millennium John and Eva Eisler were getting involved in more and more work in their former homeland, entering architectural competitions in the Czech Republic, some of which had the underlying objective of transforming Prague’s wider urban centre. John Eisler, a partner at Richard Meier & Partners Architect, was working on projects for cities on several continents at that time. In 2002 the headquarters of Canon Inc. in Tokyo, which John Eisler was heavily involved in, was completed, and this was followed by two major projects in the cradle of Western culture - the Jubilee Church (1) and the Museum of Ara Pacis in Rome (2). The latter, which houses a Classical altar monument, is located on the banks of the Tiber River on Emperor Augustus Square built on the eve of the Second World War, and when the new museum was introduced into the organism of the Eternal City it sparked a strong response, both positive and negative. (3)

     In Prague, there are examples of John Eisler’s work behind Richard Meier’s signature, too. The first studies by Meier and Eisler presenting new plans for the Pankrác District date from the late 1990s, when architectural studios outside the Czech Republic set their viewfinders on Prague. Meier’s and Eisler’s vision for this district, which thanks to its location above the historical centre of Prague plays such an important role in the panorama of the city, began to assume more concrete form after 2000, when the layout of planned high-rise buildings for this district was set. The aim of this was to continue the process of transforming this neighbourhood to make it a full-fledged part of the modern city, efforts to which end stretch far back into the twentieth century to the post-war years. In Meier’s and Eisler’s urban Master Plan, new high-rise buildings would be built in and add to the mosaic of administrative and hotel buildings already located in the area, most notably former Motokov Tower.(4) The parts of this plan that were ultimately implemented, in particular completion of the City Tower building (5) and construction of a counterpoint in low horizontal mass of Arkády Pankrác Shopping Centre, both done in cooperation with other architects, constitute a major contribution by Meier and Eisler to Prague’s modern-day appearance.(6)

     Despite John Eisler’s strong position in Meier’s studio, there were limits to the reputation he could build under his own name within it, so in 2003 he decided set up his own company in New York. But after several years of entering competitions in the Czech Republic, the Eislers took a major decision, and in 2006 they both transferred the base of their professional activities out of New York and back to Prague. They leased space in a corner building in the Letná district of Prague in which to base John Eisler Architect and EE, the logo that Eva Eisler worked behind. This was the same building that had housed a state-run enterprise called Kartografie when John and Eva Eisler were starting out (7), and Eva Eisler remembered it well, as in the early 1970s she had worked with the nearby Prague Planning Institute (8) and recalled her curiosity being been sparked by the strips of large windows along the side of the Kartografie building that offered intimations of what went on in the industrial space inside. On a visit to Prague in 2005 she noticed that one of the studios there was for lease, and this added another argument in support of moving. It was not easy to let go of the Manhattan loft. But the bright space of the studio in Letná in many ways brings to mind their New York home. Eisler moreover adapted it to fit her own ideas. Here again we find the open plan, long desks arranged variably, and iconic exemplars of modernist seating.

     Eva Eisler’s fingerprints can also be detected in the interior layouts of building designs drawn up by her husband, the variations and visualisations of what the spaces and public areas of his designs might look like, wherein Eva Eisler’s large-scale Möbius Strip objects occasionally feature. Eva Eisler’s main contribution to the work of her husband’s studio, however, is her creative input on the essential design of a building and its individual features, communicated in lively discussions with John Eisler and his colleagues.

     Eva Eisler’s own work continues to be characterised by a tension between originality and inspiration from replication, a quality that can be found in all her jewellery, sculpture, furniture, and household accessories. On one hand, she takes part in symposia and art shows devoted to authorial work, and on the other she works with Czech manufacturers to produce limited editions of products. But above all Eva Eisler is an organiser. She also lends her name and her energy to prestigious charity projects. In 2006 she curated a project organised by Sipral, the firm that helped to make Eisler’s Prague exhibition of 2003 possible. This time the company approached a number of Czech designers to create unique ‘design-like’ objects for an auction whose proceeds went to support a children’s home. The artists were asked to create an original work out of the material Sipral uses in its building cladding, and Eva Eisler’s own creation was a small aluminium table with a glass top. Among the other artists who contributed to the :Design pro/for Radost charity auction were Eva Jiřičná, Jan Kaplický, Olgoj Chorchoj studio, Liběna Rochová and Kurt Gebauer.

     Another auction Eva Eisler was involved in in the role of an artist that year was in Los Angeles. This event turned into a tribute to impeccable design expressed through original objects that represented creative variations on a toy, the Playsam Streamliner Classic Car.(9) This project in support of the World Childhood Foundation was organised by Fitzsu, a company trading in exclusive household accessories. Eisler contributed to this auction by transforming the closed, aerodynamic shape of the little wooden car into a hollow skeleton of bent metal, referencing her mono cimetric series.

     In 2008, Eva Eisler contributed work to an auction of jewellery objects by European artists organised by the Czech Signed with the Heart (Podepsáno srdcem) Foundation. She has repeatedly contributed humorous creations to UNICEF’s charity auction of dolls designed by prominent Czech figures. A particularly engaging piece was her Malá Strana Venus in 2010, a well-endowed fabric doll inspired by the famous Palaeolithic Venus of Dolní Vestonice.

     All the projects that have attracted Eva Eisler’s interest and both motivated and diverted her attention over the past decade have what with just some exaggeration we could call a shared motif: the long table. The power of a long table as an organiser of space and time became an increasingly prominent concept of hers after the Mono + Eva Eisler exhibition. Eisler’s ideas about the role of design in the life of modern man culminated in her Alluminium Series 3x5, a collection of furniture introduced at Designblok’08 in Prague by UP manufacturers as part of a confident promotional campaign.(10) This collection, which was aimed at a sophisticated clientele, and which Eisler designed without any sense of spatial or material constraints, takes the table as its centrepiece. Built of hollow aluminium profiles and based on a modular system of assembly, the adjustable table can be extended to up to eight metres long, but it needs no more than four support elements, one at each corner, for stability. The table can run the length of a residential space, office, or meeting room and fulfil different functions along the way. The changing roles it serves, which follow one another over the course of its length, are underscored by the corian-slab module pieces that make up its surface. Eva Eisler’s vision of the table as an organisational element is also essentially manifested in the idea of a chess party; therefore, one of the module inserts for the table top is designed as a chessboard. The chain and order of selected functions of each table depends on the wishes of the client. The collection also includes a set of shelves with corian storage spaces that is based on the same principle as the table.

     Czech design labels from the first half of the 20th century have an enduring appeal, and one such example is Artěl (11), for which in 2008 Eva Eisler created a limited-edition set of four glasses called Bubbles. Each individual glass is decorated with sandblasted circles of a specific size. As a whole the set poses questions about scale and, on a purely abstract level, about the ties between people, as the quartet of glasses can be viewed as members of one family.

     Clusters of circles are motifs that also explored in the drawings that make up Eisler’s Transformation [Transformace] and Wooing [Namlouvání] series, and she used the motif again in the titanium Rama Ring she designed for Tactoo’s Ring Ring Ring collection of titanium and steel rings by different designers. The first such collection by Tactoo was launched in 2003 (12), and Eva Eisler supported the project in its early stages through her overseas contacts and got the collection into Moss design store in Soho in New York. In 2007 the Ring Ring Ring collection (13), for which the Tactoo logo joined forces with stars of the design world, such as Arik Levy, Alfred Häberli, Olgoj Chorchoj studio, Eva Eisler and Jan Čapek, sparked a wave of media interest. Eisler’s imaginative contribution to the limited-edition collection, the Rama Ring, is made up of three circles of unequal size cut from one mould into the shape of a flat trefoil. This resulted in a universal model that can fit on any hand. Although traditional symbolic interpretations could be drawn from the combination of three identical elements, the three-in-one ring is actually a tribute to Arthur C. Clarke, whose ideas are expressed, for instance, in Rendezvous with Rama, where the alien ‘biots’ are tripedal creatures.

     The Rama Ring represented a kind of culmination in the progression of Eisler’s jewellery from single original objects to replicable pieces made by the author herself—which began at the MoMA shop—to limited editions of a model produced under a company label from a design of hers. The ring was a punctuation mark at the end of a sentence, and one that for the time being remains a full stop. Today Eisler still mainly shows unique objects at jewellery exhibitions. Potential wearers of her jewellery in the Czech Republic, however, find mostly author replicas in the local sales shops. This line of her work is offered, for instance, by DOX Centre for Contemporary Art and Qubus Design in Prague.

     Eva Eisler’s work falls within the stream of Czech art in which the artists accentuate the internal structure of a work, a tendency that cuts across genres and generations. This link between works was highlighted, for instance, at an exhibition called Strukturní směřování / Structural Drift (14), where, among the different works on show, a clear visual affinity can be identified between the linear paintings of Zdeněk Sýkora and the interlacing strips in the objects of Eva Eisler, which in the more complex compositions seem like isolated sections of chaotic movements. A group exhibition of Czech jewellery titled Structures – Czech Jewellery [Struktury – Český šperk] (15) held in Brussels and Prague drew its concept from the strong position that the idea of immanent structure occupies in the field of art jewellery. Included in this show were Eisler’s objects of twisted sheet metal. The sense of gesture in a structure that was first felt in Eisler’s Wire and Squiggly collections emerged in full when she participated in the 13th annual Mikulov Art Symposium (16) in a series of drawings called Dance [Tanec]. This series moreover demonstrated that whatever tendencies surface in Eisler’s work are then applied in every medium and on every scale in which she works. The clusters of spherical brushstrokes in the drawings form a two-dimensional counterpart to the wire sculptures and jewellery objects in the Wire Series, to one of her metal-strip objects called Crossroads, and to the delicate brooches in her Entangled series, which can be likened to a weightless bird’s nest hovering not far from the body of the brooch’s wearer. In these ‘gesticular’ works of Eisler’s, the trajectory of movements marked out by the artist’s hand produces vortex-like structures that give order to the surrounding space and the flow of our thoughts. The spherical quality, weightless, and unconstrained nature of works of this kind call to mind the spatial compositions of Karel Malich, though their energy derives from different sources.

     While in the 1990s Eva Eisler’s work in exhibition and residential spaces was united by the motif of the display case that could also serve as a commode or cabinet, after the exhibition at the Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague this role was taken over by the long table, running through time and space like a factory conveyor belt. While Eisler was developing the table for UP’s Alluminium Series 3x5, she also took charge of the architectural side of two Prague exhibition projects—an exhibition of 20th-century glass in the functionalist Veletržní palác [Trade Fair Palace] and an exhibition of Baroque arts and crafts in the historical Schwarzenberg Palace near Prague Castle. She adopted the same approaches for the two contrasting environments. In both she set the axis of the installation on a running display case that links related or seemingly disparate figures and recurring iconographic motifs over a long stretch of history. This kind of display case not only captures the evolution of a particular phenomenon over time, but can similarly guide the movement of the exhibition visitor and his or her body and mind. The seemingly infinite space of the enormous display case becomes a micro-world that fixates the viewer’s attention. In both palaces Eisler used the same concept of an un-partitioned display case with a single glass installation shelf at roughly about the height of a desktop, accompanied by long, aluminium, free-standing tables. Both the technicist interior of the modern Trade Fair building and the vaulted halls of the old residential palace were dominated by this combination of glass and grey metal, pure and uncompromising shapes, and sharp edges joined strictly at right angles.

     Czech Glass 1945–1980 [České sklo 1945–1980] was the title of an exhibition that was held at Veletržní Palace in 2007 as the final act in a traveling exhibition of the collection of Czech glass assembled over decades by the Steinberg Foundation in Lichtenstein.(17) The last stop on this tour, however, was more than just a repeat performance. In Prague, the concept of the project was expanded by the curator of the Prague exhibition Milan Hlaveš to include work from Czech collections, in particular from the Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague. The central display case cut right through the large exhibition space and the objects were distributed within the space inside it. Their reflections against the sides of the display case produced an impression of infinitely recurring patterns. The glass’s characteristic properties of transparency and reflectiveness were employed here to spectacular effect. With this installation Eva Eisler stepped into the ‘organism’ of the palace, the renovation of which had been done by SIAL in the early 1980s in work that John Eisler contributed along with his colleagues.(18)

     The story of Baroque Masterpieces from the Collections of the Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague [Barokní umělecké řemeslo ze sbírek Uměleckoprůmyslového musea v Praze], the permanent exhibition that opened at Schwarzenberg Palace at the start of 2009, consists of three chapters in different halls devoted thematically to liturgy, banqueting, and the world of small luxury objects, some of which were intended to be shown while others kept hidden.(19) The concept of this exhibition, devised by Petra Matějovičová (20), focused on the links between objects, which were able to emerge thanks to the use of Eva Eisler’s characteristic un-partitioned display case in two of the three rooms. In the Banquetting hall, the tableware objects were lined up uninterruptedly through the continuous display cases on an almost invisible glass surface, creating the idea of an evolution from the formal diversity of the late Renaissance table to the fixed order of Classicism. In the hall To Represent and To Hide, the objects were installed in long aluminium display cases that again resembled tables and this time cut across the intimate exhibition space, allowing the various motifs in the jewellery, fans, and lace objects to emerge, subside, and re-emerge. In the Liturgy hall, Eva Eisler’s inventiveness was effectively put to use in the technicist components that support the monumental vestments of church dignitaries, which she worked on with metal-working artist Vilém Frič.

     In 2008 Eva Eisler accepted an offer from the European Economic and Social Committee to prepare an exhibition of contemporary Czech art to coincide with the Czech Presidency of the Council of the European Union in the first half of 2009. On this occasion, Eisler developed not just the design of the installation but also the concept of the exhibition. After the exhibition’s premiere in the Building of the European Economic and Social Committee in Brussels, it appeared at two more venues in Prague: at Černín Palace, the building of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, and DOX Centre for Contemporary Art. Eva Eisler invited dozens of Czech artists to contribute to the project, titled My Europe / Moje Evropa / Czech Contemporary Art and Design, who were asked to express through a single object, no larger than 50 centimetres in any dimension, their feelings about the contemporary character of the Old Continent. Many of these artists, whose works do not usually conform to traditional notions of the boundaries between artistic categories, drew inspiration from the association of the exhibition’s curator with the world of jewellery. Architects, sculptors, and artists working in the field of new media, as well as designers created objects in which the relationship of their work to the human body is played up with an unusual harmony. The demanding theme of contemporary Europe produced humorous responses to European efforts towards deeper integration; parodies that with a hyperbole and mostly a kind form of humour relativised the pan-European project.

     The backbone to this group statement was again an un-partitioned display case, narrow in width, with space enough for a single row of objects. The extreme disparity in the ratio between the width of the case and its 25-metre length intensified the interaction between all the objects, set along a single axis, creating the added impression of a train as a medium of communication.(21) With its formal refinement and conceptual strength the installation formed a full-fledged part of the exhibition as a whole, which achieved its effect primarily through the sense of harmony that lay across the procession of individualities. Although invitations to take part in this collective journey were for the most part issued to prominent figures in the Czech art world, most notably Liběna Rochová, Václav Cigler, Jan Kaplický, Jiří Pelcl and Josef Pleskot, the opportunity to join in was not denied to members of the emerging generation of artists either.

     Between Brussels and DOX, the ‘European Train’ made a stop at the Baroque Černín Palace in Hradčany. For this site Eisler opted for a more segmented composition and divided the case into short sections to better attune the exhibition to the character of that space.

     Eisler’s use in exhibitions of an un-partitioned display case that also plays the role of a long table may seem in some respects like an a priori scheme. The capacity of this installation model to convey meaning is nonetheless undeniable. An unquestionably positive aspect of Eisler’s work as a curator generally was that it brought famous names together with unknown, emerging artists, for whom participation in an exhibition or charity auction with media visibility was a key that could open up many doors.

     Among the projects that Eva Eisler curated, one exhibition stands out, Cartier at Prague Castle – The Power of Style [Cartier na Pražském hradě – The Power of Style], which in 2010 presented the Prague public with a grand display of the work of this Parisian jewellery house.(22) Here Eisler was faced with the uneasy task of selecting items that were representative of the work of Cartier, which had experienced several high points in its relatively long history. She centred her narrative on the stories of a selection of famous clients and made the more socially attractive commissions the focal points. From the palette of different roles that a jewellery piece can play she highlighted the most traditional ones, in particular, its ability to symbolise status, both attained and sought after, and social success. Other aspects of Cartier’s jewellery were unfortunately then slightly overshadowed.

     The exhibition certainly fulfilled the expectations of visitors, but the opportunity to present a more multi-dimensional image of the production of jewellery out of luxurious materials was not used. By accepting the position of curator of this kind of project, Eisler found herself in an unusual situation, all the more so in that here she was unable to rely on an installation concept of her own devising. This installation was instead conceived by the glass artist and designer Rony Plesl. He approached the monumental space of the Riding Hall at Prague Castle, regarded as the touchstone of exhibition architecture, from an angle opposite to Eisler’s. He filled the interior with massive square blocks arranged in a fixed pattern to make up a three-dimensional chessboard. There was certainly a magnificent visual rhythm to this installation, but in terms of the time-space order it gave to the exhibition the effect was somewhat monotonous.

     Eisler’s installations for her own solo exhibitions in recent years have, by contrast, taken on the character of ‘Gesamtkunstwerk’. The object and the manner in which it is presented have been used to define each other and this has transported Eisler’s work to the very edge of conceptual art. In the spring of 2008, the exhibition Short Lived [Minimálně trvanlivé] at the Gallery of Contemporary Art in České Budějovice in Southern Bohemia integrated the artist’s work with the exhibition space in an extraordinary way. Her steel objects were presented as though fused with the surfaces of the floors and walls of the white halls, which brought out the metal’s reduced, but by no means monochromatic, colour scheme. The overall effect, however, was dominated by the technicist table, with its large surface, on which Eisler played out a composition of right-angle structures recalling basic units of space, architectural moduli. Bent planes were here again used to create the suggestion of a three-dimensional space. Some shapes in the Village Series extended past the edge of the table, enriching the content of the installation as a whole. The tribute to the qualities of space, only loosely associated with the material character of individual elements, suggested rather how the human mind has no boundaries. In a way it contrasted with the visually similar work of the young Czech jewellery and conceptual artist Martin Papcún, who primarily expresses himself through records of an existing, intimately familiar, and truly ‘lived’ environment.

     In the Miracle Archives [Archiv zázraků], an exhibition showcasing Czech design at Expo 2010 in Shanghai, Eva Eisler’s installation of right-angled components, this time made of corian, was set in the context of an abstractly formulated landscape.(23) Olgoj Chorchoj’s protective tree assembled beneath its crown examples of work by Liběna Rochová, Rony Plesl and Hana Zárubová, among others. This project, also called Landscape with a Tree, drew on the forays of design work into the field of free art. Eisler’s variation on space explored the theme of light and its modifications in an architectural context. The Miracle Archives exhibition was presented to the Czech public the following year as part of the Křehký Mikulov Festival.

     The genius loci of Mikulov, a wine town set amidst the Pavlov Hills in Southern Moravia, and the gallery spaces in the local castle have in recent years attracted several art symposia. In 2011 these events expanded to include Křehký Mikulov, whose curators Jana Zielinski and Jiří Macek focus on art design.(24) Original works by the artist, prototypes, team-manufactured unique pieces, and examples from limited editions attest to the narrow boundary that separates a unique work by an individual artist from a replicable object produced through collaboration among an entire team. The festival aims to emphasise the place of the artist in the creative process. The artist’s imagination and creativity is explored also in relation to the role of design as a medium of social prestige.
The drive for exclusivity in a field that takes its strength from its orientation towards a mass audience has always been one of the paradoxes of the design world. During the first year of the festival, several different angles of Eva Eisler’s work, which can be interpreted as the very definition of art design, were highlighted. Alongside her contribution to the Miracle Archives, the labyrinthine space of Mikulov Castle housed an exhibition called Treasure Hunt, which emerged out of Eisler’s work as a teacher at the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague.

1 Chiesa di Dio Padre Misericordioso, known also as chiesa del Giubileo – The Jubilee Church, was, together with an adjacent community centre, built as part of an urban renewal project for the Roman neighbourhood of Tor Tre Teste in the framework of a larger project for the restoration of church structures in Rome that was executed under the auspices of the Vicariate of Rome to coincide with the new millennium.
2 Museo dell’Ara Pacis Augustae.
3 The project for the building, which was designed to protect and display the two–thousand-year-old altar built to celebrate the prosperity of the Roman Empire during the rule of Emperor Augustus, addressed the acute question of what to do with the space of Augustus Square, a new structure that inserted into the city in the 1930s by Benito Mussolini, who wanted to adapt several historical monuments and make this square the centre of an Augustan cult as the archetype of his Fascist regime. The altar itself, individual parts of which were uncovered gradually over the course of several centuries, was moved to its new location from Campus Martius to form a counterpart to the imperial mausoleum. The altar was set on an elevated platform and a glass pavilion was built around it, and soon after a casing was added to protect it against bombs and grenades. By the late 20th century the way in which this masterpiece of Classical art was housed and displayed was in dire need of revision. The difficulties that accompanied the creation of a new building were compounded by the need to counter the effects of busy traffic on the road that runs alongside the Tiber River. Richard Meier and members of his studio, foremost amongst them John Eisler, created an airy composition on several different levels of terrain, a stairway entrance, and a quiet open area with a fountain and a gallery space for organising contemporary art exhibitions. The path through the complex terminates in a naturally lit room, where the altar is located. The Museum of Ara Pacis in Rome opened to the public in 2006.
4 The Motokov building (originally the base of one of Czechoslovakia’s official foreign trade enterprises) was built in 1975–1977; in 2005 it was renamed City Empiria.
5 The City Tower was created out of the transformation of a building that stood for many years in a state of unfinished construction and that was originally intended to be the headquarters of the Czechoslovak Broadcasting company, work on which began in 1983.
6 Construction of the City Tower and Arkády Shopping Centre buildings was completed in 2008.
7 The buildings that stand on the corner of what are now Kostelní Street and František Křížek Street were built at the turn of the 20th century. In the interwar years it was home to a printing company, in the 1950s to the Institute of Cartography and Print Reproduction, and in the late 1960s it was transformed into the state enterprise Kartografie Praha.
8 In the 1970s the Prague Planning Institute was located in Kostelní Street in a building designed between the wars for the Museum of Agriculture. In the 1990s the museum moved into the site that was originally intended for it.
9 The Streamliner series of wooden cars is manufactured by the Swedish firm Playsam, which produces environmental toys with interesting designs. The intellectual father of this series is designer Ulf Hanses.
10 UP is a company that produces luxury furniture and interior accessories and its name is a reference to the legacy of the interwar-era firm Spojené uměleckoprůmyslové závody in Brno [United Decorative Arts Products] (UP for short). The modern-day company invited renowned contemporary Czech designers to create models for its furniture, figures such as Jiří Pelcl, Maxim Velčovský, studio Olgoj Chorchoj and Klára Šípková.
11 The company took its name from the association of artists in Prague called Artěl that existed in 1908–1934. Its function was to collectively distribute and promote works in the field of applied arts and to increase the artistic quality of ordinary everyday objects.
12 Although a number of Czech and international designers contributed to this project, the nature of Tactoo’s products was primarily shaped by a team at File Studio headed by Jan Čtvrtník.
13 The Ring Ring Ring project was devised by Tereza Bruthansová and Jan Králíček.
14 This exhibition was prepared by Jaroslav Vančát and Aleš Svoboda and took place in 2006 Galerie Doubner in Prague as an accompanying event to a symposium titled Péče o obraznost / sémiotické přístupy k výtvarnému umění a ve výtvarné výchově [Cultivating Imagery / Semiotic Approaches to the Visual Arta and Art Education].
15 The exhibition, which Marie Holá was most instrumental in bringing about, was part of Prague House in Brussels in late 2007 and early 2008 and was later shown at Galerie U Prstenu in Prague. Eva Eisler, Petra Matějovičová and Jiří Šibor also contributed to preparation of the exhibition.
16 A summer working meeting, Mikulov Art Symposium, also known as ‘the workshop’, has taken place since 1994 in the picturesque setting of Mikulov Castle. Each year one of the participants is also assigned the role of curator. Eva accepted an invitation to the symposium in 2005. A year later she returned in the role of curator of that year’s event.
17 This exhibition project was created by Helmut Ricke, curator of Museum Kunst Palast in Düsseldorf. The exhibition travelled to museums in Europe and North America. Eva Eisler worked only on the installation design for the exhibition in Prague.
18 In 1974 Veletržní Palace was severely damaged by a fire. The renovation was prepared in the first half of the 1980s by architects at Stavoprojekt in Liberec, previously SIAL, namely by John Eisler and Emil Přikryl. However, the renovation plan ultimately executed was based on designs by other members of the studio who worked under the direction of Miroslav Masák. Renovation work began after the Eislers had emigrated, and it was competed in the early 1990s.
19 The exhibition based on the collections of the Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague accompanied an exhibition of Baroque art in Bohemia, at which the National Gallery in Prague, the owner of the palace, presented items in its collection.
20 The installation in the hall devoted to the theme of liturgy was made possible thanks to the collaboration of Markéta Grill Janatová.
21 The design of the display case is based on a central installation component that Eva created in the early 1990s for a solo exhibition at 400 Level Gallery at Columbia University in New York.
22 The exhibition at the Riding Hall of Prague Castle was part of a series of presentations of the history of Cartier’s production based on the collection of La Maison Cartier – Cartier Heritage. As the show toured through cities around the world at each stop a separate new project was developed that focused on the cultural environment of the given region. Each stop in this series was therefore prepared by a different team. Eva Eisler took on the role of curator for the exhibition in Prague.
23 The curators of Miracles Archive were Jana Zielinská and Jiří Macek.
24 The Prague gallery Křehký, where both curators of the festival work, and the Regional Museum in Mikulov joined forces to prepare the festival. One of the festival’s initiators was artist and designer Daniel Piršč, who creates objects out of porcelain.


About the author

PhDr. Petra Matějovičová.
Art historian, head curator of the Collection of Woodwork, Metals and Other Materials and curator of the Collection of Precious Metals and Other Materials of the Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague (UPM).
In her scholarly activities, Matějovičová focuses mainly on jewellery. In her research into the art of jewellery throughout the centuries, she maps the many different roles that jewellery can play. She views both historical and contemporary jewellery as a bearer of content and a visual expression imbued with the quality of fine art. Over many years, she has been working on a project entitled Cultures of Classical Antiquity as a Source of Inspiration in the History of European Jewellery.
Petra Matějovičová curates UPM’s collection of jewellery, tableware, liturgical objects, watches, ivory, wax and minerals. She is the author of the exhibition concept of Baroque Arts and Crafts from the Collections of the Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague, held in Schwarzenberg Palace in Prague, and the project which, in 2014, welcomed contemporary jewellery into the permanent historical art collection in the museum’s main building. Matějovičová devotes her curatorial activities outside the museum’s collections to contemporary art jewellery.