Ika Kuenzel’s “Protected Service” antique vases have been through fallen empires and world wars, now ensconced in a fat layer of glass. Born from her desire to preserve family heirlooms collected in the early twentieth century, Kuenzel preserved a selection of delicate glass vases made by Bohemian glass manufacturer Johann Loetz Witwe. Employing a permanent casing of security-glass vitrine, she finished the pieces with an ultraviolet curing that furnishes the the antique with a new, protective outer layer, thereby safeguarding the vase but also rendering it functionless. Known for their organic art nouveau shapes, Witwe’s glassworks were painted in iridescent colors that imitated semi-precious stones like onyx, malachite, and red chalcedony.

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