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HUNGARY’S PRIDE: CONTEMPORARY GLASS ART exhibitions, held within the scope of the 2024 Hungarian-Turkish Culture Year, brought the works of ten artists from four generations, the pride of Hungary, to Turkey. The Turkish stages of the international exhibitions were held in Ankara and Istanbul.


The Hungarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade introduces Contemporary Hungarian Glass Art, which is at a level to be proud of both in historical and contemporary terms, but has not yet used its potential in creating and transferring its cultural image, with international exhibitions titled "". The Turkish stages of this exhibition series, which will be shown in fifteen prestigious venues for two years, were held at the Ankara CSO Ada Ankara Hall between 22 January and 08 February, and the Istanbul stage was held at the Hungarian Cultural Center between 14 February and 18 March.

Rita Mária Halasi was the curator and Project Manager of these exhibitions, which were held within the scope of the 2024 Hungarian-Turkish Culture Year. Ten artists from four generations took part in the exhibitions with their abstract works: Endre Gaál, László Lukácsi, Marta Edöcs, Anita Darobos, Péter Borkovics, Kyra László, Kristóf Bihari, Balázs Sıpos, Eszter Bősze, Amala Gyöngyvér Varga.

Some of these artists, who represent the characteristic technological diversity of contemporary Hungarian glass art, have won numerous national and international awards despite their young ages, and their works are in the collections of very prestigious public institutions in Hungary, various European countries and the United States.




A.U. FFA Glass Department’s Head

In terms of the history of contemporary glass art, the 20th century was full of important developments in the context of industrialization, schooling and, finally, its acceptance in the field of art, at different levels and effects in different geographies around the world. The limits of the developments in pioneering countries such as Italy, Czechia, England, France, Germany and the United States in the 20th century were crossed by the Scandinavian countries such as Sweden, Denmark and Finland; Far Eastern countries such as China and Japan; Central European countries such as Poland, Estonia and Hungary. In the 21st century, these borders also expanded to Canada, Australia and since the 2000s, Turkey. At this point today, it is possible to see the representations of glass art at the national level and at the international level. We are witnessing one of the best examples of the influence and expansion seen in the field of glass on a universal level with the exhibition opened at the Liszt Institute Hungarian Cultural Center in Istanbul under the name "Glassisfication.Hu”.

Glassification.Hu international touring exhibition, which will be exhibited in 15 places in different countries and venues for two years with the support of the Hungarian state, is important in two respects. Firstly, it offers the opportunity to read the contemporary point that Hungary, whose roots in glass history go back to the Austro-Hungarian Empire period, has reached in the field of glass, from the craft to the artistic dimension, through the works of today's artists. Secondly, the exhibition provides us with information about the Hungarian artists we have known through individual representations so far, and therefore the artistic approaches that emerged in the context of these ten artists. This representation is also important in terms of increasing the international recognition of the country's art and art makers, especially in Hungary, and in this context, the project is encouraging and inspiring for contemporary Turkish glass artists.

Ten artists in the exhibition curated by Rıta Márıa Halası are Endre Gaál, László Lukácsı, Márta Edőcs, Anıta Darabos, Péter Borkovıcs, Kyra László, Krıstóf Bıharı, Balázs Sipos, Eszter Bősze, Amala Gyöngyvér Varga.     

Image 1. Works by Balázs Sipos, Eszter Bősze and Márta Edőcs.

When we look at the works in the exhibition, it is seen that the plastic expression possibilities specific to glass, which have been rediscovered in the world since the end of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st century, are integrated in the works with a new and original content. It is extremely impressive that artists embody the glass material in abstract forms with the use of color and light, through transparency and optical effects, in the transfer of the content or theme, and this can be strikingly observed in the works of Balázs Sıpos, Eszter Bősze and Márta Edőcs (Image 1). 

In the works of Péter Borkovics, Amala Gyöngyvér Varga and László Lukácsı, attention is drawn to the contrast of chaos and order with optical effects achieved through perfect manipulation through transparency. These effects transcend traditional usage habits and pave the way for an experimental and freer approach to glass, but are also indicative of a perfect command and experience in the technical limits of the material. The performances of all three artists in their careers prove this perfection (Image 2).

Image 2. Works of Péter Borkovıcs, Amala Gyöngyvér Varga and László Lukácsı.

One of the most basic perceptual contrasts within the artistic expression possibilities specific to glass is fragility. In common perception, glass is a brittle material and brittleness is one of the most undesirable and well-known defects of the material1. Endre Gaál uses fragility as a metaphor for life in his work (Image 3). According to Gaál; Glass, like life itself, is momentary, fragile, fallible, threatening and temporary2.

Image 3. Work of Endre Gaál.

In Krıstóf Bıharı's works, a narrative language based on the most basic feature that distinguishes glass from other materials can be seen; transparency. Transparency can be defined in two ways: as a volumetric visibility potential created in space that exists with light, or as a volumetric potential that creates the feeling of space and exists with light3. In this context, Bıharı prefers a narrative through networks and structures that reveal inner voices through the spaces he creates between the layers of glass. Kyra László, who uses the void effect as a fundamental element in the formal diversity of her forms, carries the strong pictorial effects to three dimensions by integrating these effects with the volumetric color specific to glass in the plans she creates with the interaction of the void with transparency and light (Image 4).

Image 4. Works of Krıstóf Bıharı and Kyra László.

Anıta Darabos defines her approach to works in which she transforms glass, as well as different materials that have lost their function or become unimportant, in her own imagination, as follows; I take the approach that we should value the materials around us. I live on an imaginary island, creating and recycling from the materials around me; there is no extinction, only rebirth. 4 While the artist combines materials such as ceramics and wood with glass in her work, transparency adds a distinctive and ironic meaning to the work (Image 5).

Image 5. Work of Anıta Darabos ( 

Finally, Rıta Márıa Halası, the curator of the exhibition, deserves praise. Because it is very difficult to exhibit glass works with the lighting arrangement and display style. In this respect, the preferred presentation format contributes to the existence and impact of the works.

It is an important exhibition in terms of containing good examples of the artistic potential of glass in the 21st century, and also in terms of observing the contributions of its features such as transparency, optical effects, fragility and plasticity, which become evident and prominent with the use of glass in sculptural forms, in both technical and content contexts.

Photos taken from the Glassification.Hu exhibition catalogue.

1. Ağatekin, M., (2023). Sanatsal Bir İfade Aracı Olarak Cam Malzemenin Anlatım Olanakları, Kent Akademisi Dergisi, 16(2) sayfa 1192, 2022. 

2. Glassification.Hu Sergi Kataloğu (2023), Macaristan Dışişleri ve Dış Ticaret Bakanlığı, sayfa 8.

3. Ağatekin, M., (2023). A.g.e. sayfa 1188.

4. Glassification.Hu Sergi Kataloğu (2023) A.g.e. sayfa 22.


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