Designer Tanja Pak receives award in Venice

Artist and designer Tanja Pak was one of the finalists in the Design section of the Arte Laguna Prize 2019 exhibition at the Arsenale in Venice and received a special award.

Tanja Pak took part in the Venice exhibition with a sculpture and spatial installations that she has presented in Ljubljana in recent years. She selected three installations, including photographs from her exhibition Meddih, which was on display at Galerija TR3 last year.

The Slovenian designer was awarded a one-month artist’s residency in Mauritius. The competition featured 300 artists from various visual arts disciplines.

Pak says that the selected installations represent a coherent whole and are thematically related. They speak of intimacy and the search for personal identity in the global world. Since Mauritius is a place where a huge number of different cultures meet and mix, the artist believes that she can make a good connection of this to her work and the simultaneous search for both intimacy and expansiveness. As her residency includes working with the local authorities, she had to submit a research plan. The Arte Laguna Prize 2019 exhibition presents the work of 120 finalists who were selected from among 8,000 applications in all categories of the fine arts, and six overall winners were selected.

Tanja Pak Photo:Jaka Babnik

A master of glass design

The artist focuses on glass design, ceramics, spatial installations and functional glass design. Many people consider her Slovenia’s finest glass designer, with the greatest tradition, largest oeuvre and numerous international awards. She says that she is a designer and sculptor who usually chooses to work in glass. She designs everyday objects like glasses, vases, plates and lights, and as a designer she is in constant contact with both the manufacturers and the clients. She also designs unique glass creations, from table-top adornments to architectural designs. Her true passion is sculptural spatial installations, which she conceives of as a play that stimulates all the senses through material, music, light, touch, smell …

She has been around glass her whole life, as her grandfather was a master glassblower in Rogaška Slatina, and her father a glass designer. She fell in love with glass at an early age, and that love endured. She was born in an area with a long and rich tradition of glassblowing. The area is also known for its spas, which have been famous throughout Europe for centuries for their therapeutic mineral waters. Growing up there was a privilege – learning how to blow glass and feel the air bubbles in the mineral water which rises up in the area’s many springs. Her childhood memories are full of the heat of the roaring glassblowers’ kilns, the smell of the burning wood of the moulds, the light of the effervescent water and the dancing of the bubbles. These are the images that unconsciously inform her glass designs, both artistic and functional. She understands glass as pure poetry. At the transparent boundary a dialogue is played out between the outside and the inside, between the front, the somewhere in-between and whatever lies behind.  Light is the only thing that can capture glass, if only for a fleeting moment. She is in a never-ending dialogue with this elusive material. Glass requires a passion for searching, emphasis, dialogue, for breath, undulation, poetry.

Black Photo: Mitja Pavlovec

Text by Vesna Žarkovič