Patrik Illo — Reverse

Patrik Illo is a glass designer respected both at home and abroad, but he also works with other materials.


Inventory No.: F 156

Artist: Patrik Illo
Title: Reverse

Year: 2006/2018
Technique: mixed media (textile object)
Material: combined material, textile
Dimensions: height 36 cm; width 32,5 cm; depth 13,5 cm
Signature: none

Patrik Illo is a glass designer respected both at home and abroad, but he also works with other materials. In the past, he worked with textile, leather and plush and with objects (garments, toys, sports equipment) that had come from the design industry. Incorporating various comical shifts in their meanings and functions, he puts them in new, often surprising contexts. At the moment, his creative program focuses mostly on moulded and cast glass which he combines with other materials in order to create spacial objects and installations. The most typical aspects of his design work, which can be also found in his freelance art, include intelligent humour, playfulness, induction of embarrassment, but also high levels of functionality and craftsmanship.

The object titled Reverse, which is a part of Nitra Gallery’s collection, was recreated for the Fetishes of Today exhibition which was held at Nitra Gallery’s Representative Halls between December 13, 2018 and March 31, 2019 and curated by Ľudmila Kasaj Poláčková and Omar Mirza. The object is a plush teddy bear which is, as the title suggests, in reverse – the soft brown plush is on the inside and its smooth red satin is on the outside. The teddy bear’s zipper reveals slightly its viscera and its tempting opening invites us to play with it and cuddle it. The twisted game with materials is a play on connotations and the viewer’s perception and its main goal is to make them uncertain about the basic function of an everyday object. The kids toy becomes the adult toy and a little obscene and fetishistic object.

Patrik Illo was born in Považská Bystrica on November 16, 1973. Between 1988 – 1992, he studied at the Secondary Vocational School of Glassmaking in Lednické Rovne. Between 1992 – 1998, he studied at the Department of Glass Art (under doc. Juraj Gavula) and at the Studio of Intermedia at the Department of Painting (under prof. Ladislav Čarný) at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Bratislava. During his studies, he took residencies in Great Britain and Italy and at Cité internationale des Arts in Paris, France in 1999. He has received numerous awards and honourable mentions for his designs (e.g. Design Plus at the Ambiente international fair in Frankfurt in 2006 or Prize for the Best Design at China Daily-Use Articles Trade Fair in Shanghai in 2014). In 2007, he was a finalist of the Oskár Čepan Award. Since 2010, he has led the Studio of Glass at AFAD. From 1998 until 2006, he worked as an in-house designer at the glassmaker factory Rona, a. s. in Lednické Rovne. Since 2008, he has been at the position of their chief external designer and head of the innovation committee. He has also designed for glassmakers in the Czech Republic (Moser Květná, Bohemia Crystalex Trading) and between 2006 – 2009 he worked as a designer for a Polish glassmaker Krosno. His work focuses mostly on glass design, experimental design, objects and installations and curatorship. He has designed many types of tableware and glassware as well as the White Cube [Biela kocka] Award statuettes that are awarded yearly by the Slovak Gallery Council.

Omar Mirza
February 2020

This acquisition has been supported using funds provided by the Nitra Self-Governing Region in 2019.