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Martin Papcun started sculpting thick blocks of water buffalo horn into eyeglasses in 2009 during his studies at the prestigious Akademie Der Bildenden Kunste in Munich. His life so far has led to a deep interest in Japan, and the practice of zazen. Over five years ago, he left everything and went to become a monk in the Zen monastery of Antaiji. He meditated in the middle of the mountains, from dawn to dusk, in pain, fever, hopelessness and faith. He merged with nature, became nature. It was not external nor internal, everything became one, the "I" disappeared. It was a radical turning point in his life. In the perception of the world, life and the work of art was cut to the core, form became content, and content became form. After this satori, there was no need to live in a monastery, so he returned to Europe carrying back the Japanese aesthetics and a strong meaning from the monastery wall, “Your temple is where you are right now!" which Papcun’s life continues to be guided by this principle.

In 2019 he returned to Japan, to the city of Sabae which is the heart of the production of eyeglasses. There he learned from his master, Hiroyuki Sasaki, the original techniques of making glasses from the water buffalo horn which were shared in his family from generation to generation. After returning to Prague, he began working intensively on new pieces.

The aesthetics of his work goes to the essence, the pure form, and a precise execution into every detail. The hinges he designed are inspired by the massive hinges on the canal locks of Amsterdam. They are from hypoallergenic stainless steel, made with the highest japanese precision. The cases which he hand-sews from traditionally vegetable tanned leather from the Alps, gain a unique patina that reflects our daily lives. For the production of the frames, he uses only the highest quality water buffalo horn, which he carefully selects from his suppliers whom he has personally visited. The solid blocks of horn are carved into meticulous spectacles. It is a natural hypoallergenic material that is precisely luxurious for its unique properties that have never been surpassed.

The glasses are entirely designed and fabricated by Papcun himself because the process of creation itself is part of his meditation. Papcun's frames are always based on hand drawings, where the line reflects the author's current emotions. In the subsequent process of development, the glasses are honed to perfection, when the sculptural form changes matter into an object, into art. It then achieves an ideal shape when it comes to custom glasses, created in synergy with the wearer. The treatment of the form and the surface are always based on the nature of the material. A cross section of the horn, like a tree, reflects the passage of time in its annual rings. Like a diary in time, it makes marks into matter. The character of each individual spectacle is a record of the period in which they were created, and therefore each frame is dated on the day they were completed like an artist’s proof. Every moment of production is imprinted in the final character, which has a very strong emotional statement for Papcun. This is why each pair of his glasses is so unique. It is the path to his essence.

Your temple is where you are right now!


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