DECHEM & Museum of Applied Arts in Budapest

The collection of mirrors created for the Museum of Applied Arts in Budapest pays a tribute to Madame Bovary, a novel by Gustav Flaubert.

Based on curator Judit Horváth‘s initiative, DECHEM studio was commissioned by the Museum of Applied Arts in Budapest to choose an object from their permanent collection, and to create their own design by reflecting on the original piece. The resulting work of art will become a part of the collection itself.

As a starting point, DECHEM selected a custom-bound book from the museum’s art book collection: Madame Bovary by Gustav Flaubert. Originally published in Paris in 1930, Károly Grill‘s book publishing company made a unique binding using the Japanese suminagashi marbled paper production technique. 

After the process of researching, sketching and discussing, DECHEM studio decided to reflect on both; the look and the content of the book. Inspired by the motifs of the novel‘s story, DECHEM has created a mirror that tells a story of past and present, fantasy and reality and the deepest hidden desires. 

Intrigued to transfer the book‘s cover to a different material, the new objects were made using the lithyalin glass, invented by the Czech Friedrich Egermann in the 19th century, with a special pattern very similar to the one of the marbled paper.

DEHCEM translated the three-dimensional object – the book into a flat piece. In the exhibition, this process is visualized by three hand-painted plywood paintings, sketches, and material samples.

The final piece is a highly contemporary interpretation of an almost 100-year-old edition of an even older book and invites the viewers to become a part of the object, to reflect on themselves and on what they see. The mirrors will become a part of the permanent collection itself and will provide an opportunity for further exhibition relations.


Photography: Kristina Hrabětová