The world premiere of an important exhibit on Israel opens in Prague & much more
Kathrin Köster and Sinta Werner
Meet Factory – Kostka Gallery, September 11 – October 3 (Köstner), October 26 (Werner)
Meet Factory has an extensive artist-in-residence program and through October you can check out the work of these two German women. Köster, a painter, creates site-specific architectural interventions that she says ‘become hybrid objects.’ Werner, meanwhile prefers to work at the ‘interface between the two-and three-dimensional, between image, sculpture and architecture.’
Felix Lupa, Street Photography
Leica Gallery Prague, through September 7
Slice of life, in the moment photography is the specialty of Lupa, who was born in the Ukraine and migrated to Israel when he was six. He’s probably best known for his contemporary Israeli reportage and documentary photography, and this exhibition at Leica shows works from Tel Aviv, South Sudan and Cuba. The Tel Aviv ones are the most captivating; his juxtaposition of shots is brilliant. In one, a man is walking his dog along a sidewalk. A few steps back another man is ‘walking’ a bureau – complete with a ‘leash’ tied around its middle. His Cuba photos are the only ones in color and in the final room there are photos from one of his most recent series ‘Dwellers of the Magic Car’ about two homeless men, one blind, the other elderly.
Nákladové nádraží Žižkov, through September 9
If you aren’t into rehabilitation of disused space, this exhibition probably won’t be of interest. However, head over to the old Žižkov train station anyway to check out the space. They’ve got lots of things growing—vegetables and clothing in old train cars; massive heads on the tracks and other site specific installations. There are comfy beach chairs to hang out in on the platform and it’s free. If you still aren’t convinced, watch this video of the exhibition’s assembly.
Václav Šerák: Fire – Clay – Ice
Museum of Decorative Arts, through September 14
One of the foremost Czech and European ceramicists, Šerák creations are known for blurring the line between design and sculpture. His work is recognizable by its form and color expressiveness, beautiful works of ceramic sculptural perfection. He’s currently a professor at the Studio of Ceramics and Porcelain at the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague and it’s most likely due to his tutelage that the country has a contemporary reputation for artsy ceramics. The exhibition is an excellent overview of the work of one of the Czech masters of this craft.
The House that Continuously Circulates
Convent of St. Agnes of Bohemia – National Gallery, through September 28
A bit of a forward-thinking exhibition at St. Agnes’ Convent this summer; Korean artist JaeEun Choi presents part of her long-term project, World Underground. It began in 1986 and has since been realized in seven countries. She visited Prague in 2008 and found the convent’s space inspiring and asked to begin her World Underground project here. The second part of her exhibition (The House that Continuously Circulates) was specifically designed for the convent’s spaces and involves her main theme of the cycle of life and death. The exhibition is accompanied by music specially composed for the event by American experimental electronic musician Ari Benjamin Meyers.
Dům fotografie, July 22-September 28
A retrospective of this Berlin photographer’s work since the 1970s is on at City Gallery Prague’s House of Photography. His work involves both the technical changes photography has gone through in the last 40 years and the exhibition showcases 18 cycles and long-term projects, many with an overarching theme depicting civilization on a global scale.
The Fairytale World of Zdeněk Smetana
Museum Kampa, July 18-October 10
One for those with kids, or the young at heart, Kampa is putting on a display of Czech animator, screenwriter and artist Zdeněk Smetana. Besides his whimsical cartoon drawings, you can also catch screenings of short films and fairy tales with his characters. Some of his most famous ones include Pohádky z mechu a kapradí (Křemílek a Vochomůrka), Rákosníček, Štaflík a Špagetka and Malá čarodějnice. Smetana has won numerous awards throughout his long career, the most recent being presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award at this year’s Anifilm Festival of International Animated Films.
Land of the Black Pharaohs
Náprstek Museum of Asian, African and American Cultures, through October 12
This National Museum exhibit not only traces the history of the Nubia civilization, up to the pre-Christian period, but also showcases the results of recent work by the National Museum’s Archaeological Expedition in Wad Ben Naga. Many items were borrowed from a variety of international museums, including the collections of the Sudan National Museum in Khartoum, the Egyptian Museum and Papyrus Collection in Berlin and the Egyptian Museum at the University of Leipzig, in addition to items from Náprstek’s own collections. The National Museum’s team has been working in Sudan since 2009, and this is the first time results from their excavations have been put on display.
Živnostenská bank on Na Příkopě, October 27-28, 2014
Two short days to check out some Czech contemporary art in a fabulous building – the Živnostenské bank on Na Příkopě. Subtitled Space, curators have blended art, history, architecture and design into what promises to be a unique exhibition. Exhibiting galleries include Galerie Svit, Drdova Gallery, Huntkastner Gallery and Polansky Gallery with pieces ranging from paintings to sculptures to photography and conceptual art.
Queen Anne’s Summer House – Prague Castle, through October 31
Memories and the issue of dealing with one’s history is the underlying message of this photo exhibition at the Summer House in the Royal Gardens at Prague Castle. The European experience of forced labor is depicted; and not only the experience during, but also the memories of the laborers after their ordeal was over. More than 60 cases of forced labor under Nazi Germany are investigated; a timely event in this 70th anniversary year of the end of World War II.
Prague Botanical Garden, through November 16
Another one to check out on a sunny day, head up to Troja and while wandering through the botanical garden, check out the fascinating sculptural creations of Čestmír Suška and Lukáš Rais. Their work is a beautiful combination of resilient fragility, reminiscent of the plant life they are surrounded by. There are 18 sculptures in all, including a gorgeous ‘tree’ located in St. Klara’s vineyard.
Martin Rajniš: Architecture Guild
Dox Centre for Contemporary Art, through November 17
Rajniš is one of the country’s foremost ‘natural’ architects and this exhibition takes place on the occasion of him receiving the Global Award for Sustainable Architecture 2014. He seems to build many wooden towers in random places, but also design some pretty enviable livable structures. On display at Dox are large format photos of his work and wooden structures scaled down to fit indoors. There’s a beautiful kindergarten in Krč and a few homes natural and full of light built seemingly from nothing but windows and wood.
If you visit before September 22, check out Front Line, a site-specific installation by two Slovak artists on the ground floor. To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the beginning of World War II, the pair stacked sand bags to recreate a trench wall from the First World War and then laid out fragments of anti-aircraft bunkers from World War II.
Visit again after October 24 for a monumental exhibition called This Place. Twelve photographers spent six month residencies in Israel in hopes of connecting with this complex place, its history, geography and people. The travelling exhibition of more than 500 photos will have its world premiere in Prague before moving on to Tel Aviv, the US, and other museums around the world.
Music and Politics
National Memorial on Vítkov Hill, through March 29, 2015
Here’s another opportunity to combine some outdoor time with a little bit of culture this summer. Take a hike up Vítkov Hill and then visit the National Museum’s exhibition on music and politics, a timely one in the year of the 25th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution. Music is shown as both a form of protest and an instrument of political power through objects, audio and visual recordings. The links aren’t limited to the 40 years under Communism however, but stretch back to the 1848 revolutions and include a look at music in today’s political climate.