At the Renaissance 21 exhibition, to be held at the Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague as a part of the 23rd edition of the Designblok Festival, the avant-garde jeweller Zdeněk Vacek will present an original crafting technique that uses spot micro welding. This method is exceptionally demanding in terms of time, patience, concentration, accuracy and imagination, and even the way in which it has evolved is noteworthy. The unique haute- joaillerie objects – sculptures – which the artist has created for this occasion combine creativity, traditional jewellery-making methods, and leading edge industrial technology. Moreover, they are a personal tribute to crafts and family ties.

Zdeněk Vacek offers two levels in the JITKA – PUK – 3D – UPM project: the first is informative, the second purely visual. It is thus partly an endeavour to document the craft and partly an optical explosion. The central theme of the concept revolves around the jeweller’s mother Jitka, who is also his colleague and an expert in the spot micro welding technique. Jitka uses a PUK 3 welder under a microscope in a protective atmosphere, and has been developing her precise skill for more than eight years, gradually working her way towards perfection. It was actually a micro welder to which Zdeněk Vacek shifted his own technique many years ago, moving from the use of fishing line to using dental wires to connect individual parts. After a few years, he had developed this process to a form where he creates rivets from gold and decorates their surface with small gemstones.

This exhibition comprises three jewellery objects, the shape of which is based on the outlines of faces, the positions of hands, and the moments that characterise the production process. The data used as a starting point for all of the objects originated with the use of 3D scanning. The object “A BURST OF ENERGY” is made of silver decorated with black diamonds. The sculptures “MASK” and “HANDS” are of stainless steel and decorated with Bohemian garnets. The movement of the displayed exhibits intensifies the glitter and shine of the organic surfaces. The mask and hands were printed using the DMLS (Direct Metal Laser Sintering) additive manufacturing process at the One3D company in Mohelnice, Czech Republic, and this is also where the resin models were made using SLA (stereolithography) technology.

The installation includes a visual poem directed by JQr – partly an arts and crafts documentary, partly a trip to her parallel universe.

Zuzana Lednická from Studio Najbrt is behind the graphic combo that pulsates on the Zdenekvacek.com website. She uses unique shots taken during the additive manufacturing and penetrates deeper into the technological level of the project.

Within the broader context, the exhibition is a celebration of materials, colours, and the interconnection of unique and precise manual work with advanced industrial technologies. It is also a personal statement embodying Zdeněk’s inner wishes and the need to celebrate the happiness he feels because he is able to work and create with his mother, as well as an effort on his part to at least partially repay the debt he owes her for the love and care she has given him.

The exhibition of course includes some of Zdeněk’s typical light humour and exaggeration. In addition to dry facts about the temperature of an electric discharge, visitors will also learn such things as how many fingernails Jitka has burned off during her eight years of spot micro welding, how many pairs of spectacles she has sat on and crushed, how many cornea transplants she has had to undergo, and other interesting morsels of information.

Thanks and acknowledgement:

Scanning: 3Dees, Robert Navrátil

3D printing of masks and hands: One3D, David Paloušek

Photos: Václav Jirásek and Ondřej Přibyl

Brass info panel: Štěpán Marko

Video: Janeq Růžička and Tomáš Moravec, Petr Bednář

Graphic Design: Zuzana lednická, Zdeněk trienkewitz (Studio Najbrt)