USA / Sutnar
One of the main sources of SUTNARKA’s identity is the life and work of Ladislav Sutnar, a native of Pilsen. As Sutnar spent a substantial part of his working life in the USA, where his direct descendants live today, cooperation with US institutions is a natural strategy of the Faculty.
Radoslav Sutnar, Ladislav Sutnar’s son, has played a crucial part in the development of these relations. It was due to his generosity and diplomacy that it was possible to set up at the Faculty the most extensive archives of Ladislav Sutnar’s work and legacy in Europe. Every year, the Faculty bestows the Ladislav Sutnar Prize to leading institutions and personalities in the field of design and art from all around the world. The laureates of this prize and our distinguished partners from the USA include Museum of Modern Art New York, The J. Paul Getty Trust, Richard Saul Wurman, William Lobkowicz and the Lobkowicz Collections, Steven Heller and others. Gradually, we have been building up a unique professional network which forms a basis for excellent projects. The last example is the Shapes project which brought together the students of SUTNARKA and the School of Visual Arts in New York (under the supervision of Steven Heller) who created a set of works referring to the legacy of Ladislav Sutnar. The works were presented at exhibitions, but also in a publication that later received the prestigious Red Dot Award. In 2018 an illustrated publication on the history of the Czech city of Pilsen and the Czech history and the Mexican present of a Chicago district bearing the same name was created thanks to the cooperation with the University of Chicago. The Pilseñ project was led by illustrator Renáta Fučíková, head of the Didactic Illustration studio, whose books have been translated into many languages. The project was presented at the Citlalin Gallery in the Chicago district Pilsen.
Fully aware of its own cultural and historical context and determined to build on it in the future, SUTNARKA sees Israel and Israeli institution as natural partners. The Jewish community in Pilsen has created a characteristic cultural heritage that the city is proud of to this very day and that includes, among others, the world’s third largest synagogue and an impressive number of works by the architect Adolf Loos. To make sure that Jewish culture does not remain just a reminder of the past, the Faculty works on a broad range of cooperation projects with the current Israeli cultural and education scene.
The well-respected Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem has been our partner for many years. It is also a regular destination of our students interested in exchange programs, who are happy to share their experience and newly obtained know-how with their fellow students once they return to Pilsen. Our academic staff pay regular visits to the Bezalel Academy as well, focussing not only on teaching-related matters, but also on the presentations of art works to be displayed in the public space, such as the Assist. Prof. Benedikt Tolar’s installation in the Hamiffal Centre in Jerusalem or the Faculty’s exhibition in the Czech Cultural Centre in Jerusalem. We cooperate also with the esteemed Holon Institute of Technology, preparing together an ambitious research and education project aimed at academic mobility and knowledge transfer.
After we had established many new partnerships in Europe in a short time and stabilized the cooperation with the US institutions, we started searching for new strategic partners and regions. In view of cultural, social and historical connections, we decided to focus on cooperating with Taiwan. With the support of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office, we secured funding for common projects and for presenting Taiwanese culture in the Czech Republic. In 2019 we are going to present the current trends in the Taiwanese audio-visual production. The ArtCamp international summer school will host teachers and lecturers from Taiwan and the DesignWeek Pilsen will welcome Taiwanese experts from the cultural industry.
The Taiwan Design Center (TDC) in Taipei received the Ladislav Sutnar Prize in 2018. This was an important milestone in the establishment of a cooperation that is facilitated by TDC and Czech Economic and Cultural Office in Taipei and that enables the Faculty to promote its art and research activities. It was on this basis that a strong partnership with the National Cheng Kung University, one of the world’s leading institutions in contemporary design, was set up.
The geographically and geopolitically closest partner region of Pilsen, and therefore also of SUTNARKA, is the Free State of Bavaria, Germany. A number of projects have been realized as part of our strategic partnerships with Bavarian institutions. The Growth of Film and Animation Skills project, which is being realized, among others, in cooperation with the Technical University of Applied Sciences in Amberg, aims at developing the skills, knowledge and craftmanship of Czech and German university students of film, animation and interactive art. The project also promotes cross-border cooperation, the transfer of best practice and experience in the field of education as well as other activities in the Czech-Bavarian region. Documentary films, video spots, stories, TV reports and computer games are created in interdisciplinary workshops by students of the Animated and Interactive Art studio under the supervision of the doyen of Czech film animation, Prof. Jiří Barta.
The project From Country to Country, that is supported on the Czech side by the Klatovy / Klenová Gallery, aims at encouraging cultural encounters of artists, art students, theoreticians, enthousiasts, institutions and municipalities in the areas close to the common border. The project’s main theme is land-art as a unique form of and approach to art that is concerned with the cultivation of art and the forming of land. The land, that has silently witnessed so many human tragedies after the war and that can speak to us expressively through artistic interventions. Prof. Jiří Beránek, the pioneer of Czech land-art, is a guarantee of quality.
The project Interprofessional Education of Student Teams facilitates knowledge transfer in the field of product design and provides a platform for the establishment and work of student teams consisting of artists, designers and students of medicine-related disciplines and marketing.
Beside the Faculty’s strategic partnerships, the individual studios cooperate with their own partners from other countries, receiving support from the Faculty that ensures the success and sustainability of such partnerships. An example is a joint project of the Faculty’s Animated and Interactive Art studio and the famous Tokyo University of Arts/Geidai. A highlight of the project was a visit of Yuichi Ito, Japanese director, founder and head of the I.TOON Ltd. animation studio and winner of numerous international awards, at the Faculty in spring 2019.