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 of BUT, Ivan Ruller, played a key role. In 1992, professor Ivan Ruller founded the Institute of Drawing and Modeling at the Faculty of Architecture of BUT. This became the nucleus of the Faculty of Fine Arts, which began operations on January 1, 1993. Academic sculpture professor Vladimír Preclík was elected as 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 led by prof. Vladimír Preclík, the Painting Studio led by assoc. prof. Miroslav Štolfa, the Process-Concept-Action Studio led by assoc. prof. Dalibor Chatrný, the Studio of Visual Communications Design led by academic painter Jan Rajlich Sr. and the Video Art Studio led by academic painter Radek Pilař. The sixth, the Drawing and Graphics Studio, was headed by academic painter Ivan Kříž, who was later replaced by James Janíček. After the departure of assoc. prof. Štolfa, the Painting Studio was headed by Olomouc native academic painter Radoslav Kutra, and leading it since 1995 is prof. 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 working here as a visiting professor was world-renowned Brno native Woody Vašulka, a pioneer in his field living in the United States. After the departure of assoc. prof. Chatrný, Slovak conceptualist prof. Peter Rónai became head of the Conceptual Tendencies Studio. In the academic year 1994/1995, another studio was added to the other six professional studios – the Product Design Studio led by academic sculptor Zdeněk Zdařil.
Establishment of the Department of Art History and Theory was the work of prof. PaedDr. Igor Zhoř, who also initially led it. Later heading the department were assoc. prof. PhDr. Josef Maliva, PhDr. Pavel Ondračka, Mgr. Blahoslav Rozbořil, assoc. prof. PhDr. Peter Spielmann, and PhDr. Kaliopi Chamonikola, Ph.D. The current department head is assoc. prof. Mgr. Jan Zálešák, Ph.D. Another important figure of the Department of Art History and Theory since its inception was architectural theorist prof. 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 prof. Zhoř, the Graphic Design Studio was assigned to the Paper and Book Studio led by assoc. prof. MVDr. Jiří H. Kocman, who headed it until 2011. After the unexpected departure of prof. Zhoř in 1998, assoc. prof. Tomáš Ruller was elected dean, who proceeded to substantially expand the offer of professional specializations. Over 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 e.g. new media theorist Keiko Sei of Japan and American artist Barbara Benish. Prof. PhDr. Jan Sedlák, CSc. held the post of faculty dean in 2000–2004, followed by assoc. prof. PhDr. Petr Spielmann, dr.h.c., in 2004–2007. Both of these educators continued to develop degree programs and specializations. Prof. ac. sculptor Michal Gabriel served as faculty dean in 2007–2011. Assoc. prof. MgA. Milan Houser replaced him as dean from 2011 to 2018. In late 2016, the FFA moved in to the historical premises of BUT at Údolní 244/53. Assoc. prof. MgA. Filip Cenek became dean of the FFA in 2019.
Having an art faculty incorporated into a technical university is not quite common even in the world, and remains unique in the Czech Republic to this day. With this in mind, a field-based composition has also been created: disciplines are represented here, which, by applying the latest technologies, are leading towards the fusion of art and technology. Through all the offered fields of free art, applied art and current tendencies, the FFA covers the entire spectrum of contemporary fine art, to which the Department of Art History and Theory also contributes through education. In the last decade, a significant generational turnover of teachers occurred at the FFA, who now mediate a diverse array of current approaches to contemporary art and design. Currently, the FFA has three accredited fields of study with a total of 16 studios. Representing the field of design are 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 and Multimedia Studio (since 2018 the Game Media Studio) and the Body Design Studio. The field of art creation is represented by 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 individual studios. Tasks surrounding teaching and technology are supported by the Department Audiovisual Technology, the Department of Information Technology, the Department of Traditional Media (until 2018 the Department of Evening Drawings) and the Department of 3D Technology. A part of the last-mentioned department is the 3D Studio, established in 2007 as the first of its kind at an art school 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-on 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, evidenced e.g. by the fact that each year, the number of applicants for study far outweighs the number accepted. The FFA graduated its first graduates of the master's degree program in 2000. Today it boasts over 1,400 graduates. A robust number of FFA's graduates successfully engage in artistic events in the Czech Republic and abroad. The FFA maintains close ties with an entire series of art faculties and academies through all kinds of exchanges, cooperation, participation in Erasmus programs and others. Students have the opportunity to consult during their studies at any studio. They may attend lessons in a different studio as a semester internship, or permanently transfer. They thus grasp the interlinking of disciplines, and gain the opportunity for an alternative career in the art world. In fine art education, the focus is on professional mastering of craft and technical aspects of creation. Regular presentation 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 of the emerging and youngest generation of artists and curators. It is also something of an experimental laboratory of open dialog between academia and the public.
Responsibility: Jana di Lenardo