History and the present
The idea of a Moravian art college cropped up several times in the 20th century. After 1989, though initially without coordination, several groups of Brno's intellectuals and artists rehabilitated the idea. The decisive initiative came from the renewed artistic association Sdružení Q, where Dean of the Faculty of Architecture, Ivan Ruller, played a key role. In 1992, Professor Ivan Ruller founded the Institute of Drawing and Modeling at the Faculty of Architecture, BUT. This became the nucleus of the Faculty of Fine Arts, which began its operation on January 1, 1993. Professor and sculptor Vladimír Preclík was elected its first dean. The FFA started the study program of fine arts with six fields of study: sculpture, painting, drawing and graphics, visual communication design, process-concept-action, and electronic multimedia creation (video art). The first 45 students were educated in six studios.
The Sculpture Studio was led by Professor Vladimír Preclík, the Painting Studio by Associate Professor Miroslav Štolfa, the Process-Concept-Action Studio by Associate Professor Dalibor Chatrný, the Studio of Visual Communications Design by academic painter Jan Rajlich Sr., and the Video Art Studio by academic painter Radek Pilař. The sixth studio, the Drawing and Graphics Studio, was led by academic painter Ivan Kříž, who was later replaced by James Janíček. After the departure of Associate Professor Štolfa, the Painting Studio was led by Olomouc native academic painter Radoslav Kutra; since 1995, it has been led by Professor Jiří Načeradský. After the premature death of Radek Pilař, the Video Art Studio came under the leadership of sculptor and performer Tomáš Ruller who transformed it into the Video-Multimedia-Performance Studio. Later, Brno native Woody Vašulka, a world-renowned pioneer in this field living in the United States, worked there as a visiting professor. After the departure of Associate Professor Dalibor Chatrný, Slovak conceptualist Professor Peter Rónai became head of the Conceptual Tendencies Studio. In the academic year of 1994/1995, another studio was added to the other six professional studios – the Product Design Studio led by academic sculptor Zdeněk Zdařil.
The Department of Art History and Theory was established by Professor Igor Zhoř who was also initially its head. The department was later led by Associate Professor PhDr. Josef Maliva, PhDr. Pavel Ondračka, Mgr. Blahoslav Rozbořil, Associate Professor PhDr. Peter Spielmann, and PhDr. Kaliopi Chamonikola, Ph.D. The current department head is Associate Professor Mgr. Jan Zálešák, Ph.D. Another important figure of the Department of Art History and Theory since its inception was architectural theorist Professor PhDr. Jan Sedlák, CSc.
Important theorist Igor Zhoř became the new dean to replace Vladimír Preclík in 1997. He expanded art theory and history education in terms of content and personnel. This was reflected in the splitting of diploma theses into an artistic part and theoretical part, replaced only after 2010 by an oral exam. Under Professor Zhoř, the Graphic Design Studio became part of the Paper and Book Studio led by Associate Professor MVDr. Jiří H. Kocman, who was its leader until 2011. After the unexpected departure of Professor Zhoř in 1998, Associate Professor Tomáš Ruller was elected dean and proceeded to substantially expand the offer of professional specializations. In 1998 and 1999, he raised the number of studios to thirteen and hired more educators. These new teachers accompanying the reform of the faculty included, fro example, new media theorist Keiko Sei of Japan and American artist Barbara Benish. Professor PhDr. Jan Sedlák, CSc. held the post of faculty dean in 2000–2004, followed by Associate Professor PhDr. Petr Spielmann, dr.h.c., in 2004–2007. Both of these educators continued to develop degree programs and specializations. Professor and academic sculptor Michal Gabriel served as faculty dean in 2007–2011. Associate Professor MgA. Milan Houser replaced him as dean from 2011 to 2018. In late 2016, the FFA moved to the historical premises of BUT at 244/53 Údolní Street. Associate Professor MgA. Filip Cenek became dean of the FFA in 2019.
Having an art faculty incorporated into a technical university is not very common even abroad and remains unique in the Czech Republic to this day. With this in mind, a field-based composition has also been created: the taught disciplines apply the latest technologies, aiming at the fusion of arts and technology. Within the offered fields of free art, applied art and current tendencies, the FFA covers the entire spectrum of contemporary fine arts, to which the Department of Art History and Theory also contributes with its courses. In the last decade, a significant generational change of teachers occurred at the FFA and the faculty now covers a diverse range of current approaches to contemporary art and design. Currently, the FFA has three accredited fields of study and a total of 16 studios. The field of design is represented by the Graphic Design Studios 1 and 2 and the Product Design Studio. The field of intermedia and digital creation is represented by the Environment Studio, Performance Studio, Video Studio, Intermedia Studio, Photography Studio, Multimedia Studio (the Game Media Studio since 2018), and the Body Design Studio. The field of art creation is represented by the Sculpture Studios 1 and 2, Painting Studios 1, 2 and 3, and the Drawing and Graphics Studio. Studio teaching is complemented by theoretical lectures on art history, aesthetics, philosophy, sociology, and a series of elective courses based on the needs of the studios. Tasks related to education and technology are supported by the Department Audiovisual Technology, the Department of Information Technology, the Department of Traditional Media (the Department of Evening Drawings until 2018), and the Department of 3D Technology which also includes the 3D Studio, established in 2007 as the first of its kind in the Czech Republic.
Studying at the Faculty of Fine Arts takes place in three degree programs, a four-year bachelor’s degree program and a follow-up two-year master's degree program. Graduates receive the titles B.A. and M.A. In addition to these programs, the FFA also offers a four-year doctoral studies program in Fine Arts and Art Management. The FFA is a highly selective educational institution, which is evidenced also by the fact that each year, the number of applicants for study far outweighs the number of the accepted students. The FFA had its first graduates of the master's degree program in 2000. Today it boasts over 1,400 graduates. A great number of FFA's graduates successfully engage in artistic events in the Czech Republic and abroad. The FFA maintains close ties with many art faculties and academies through all kinds of exchange programs, cooperation, participation in Erasmus programs, etc. Students have the opportunity to attend consultations during their studies at any studio. They may attend lessons in another studio in the form of a semester internship, or permanently change the studio. Thus, they grasp the interconnection of the disciplines, and gain the opportunity to pursue an alternative career in the world of arts. Fine arts education focuses on professional mastering of craft and technical aspects of creation. Regular presentations of school works enable students public confrontation and networking with gallerists, curators, and collectors alike. Significant support is provided by the FFA Gallery, a lively communication space for the emerging and youngest generation of artists and curators. It is also something of an experimental laboratory of open dialog between the academia and the public.
Responsibility: Jana di Lenardo