Buying a roof and hanging it on the wall

The Prague Post

An unusual art auction will help support charity for disabled children

Artists, start your engines.

While it is doubtful organizers actually used these words to recruit artists for the Tina B. Meets Mini Roof project, they may have been appropriate.

Seven artists from the Czech Republic and around the world were asked to decorate roofs of Mini Cooper cars. This is the second year artists have decorated Mini roofs, but the first in which Tina B. – the annual contemporary art festival – was a partner.

The roofs were displayed on Ovocný trh for about two weeks during the Tina B. Festival in October, and have since been on display at the Vernon City gallery. On Nov. 28, they’ll be auctioned off for charity at the Hilton Old Town hotel.

“When the roofs were on the square, I thought, ‘No way could you put this on your wall,’ ” said Monika Burian, director of Galerie Vernon and a Tina B. organizer. “But, once they were in the gallery, why not?”

Some changes were made to this incarnation of the Mini concept, one of which was the decision to invite artists from outside the Czech Republic to participate.

“The whole concept fits my idea that art, design and industry are getting closer,” Burian said. “Artists are becoming industry leaders in fashion, music, design.”

The roofs are actually mock-ups made from plastic in the size and shape of a real Mini roof. Artist Markéta Hlinovská titled her contribution Hostina. Her roof shows a variety of food, like lobster and an egg, on a gold background. They are waiting to be eaten, or perhaps the diner has already finished.

“I was thinking horizontally and how the roof would really be on the car,” she explained. “The idea of a supper, it could be even stranger, because the idea of supper on a car is already strange. But different plates of food that don’t match, and the person looking at the car can think about who was at this supper and be active in their viewing.”

The simple styling does give way to thoughts. Are people coming or going to this meal? And who wants to eat lobster from the roof of a car? Other installations are just as thought provoking. Italian Mauro Cuppona designed a gravestone, and Czech Tomáš Spevák portrayed a shark attack.

American Jacob Ouillette’s addition is full of color. He says he’s currently interest in the “metaphysical possibilities of abstraction.” Paper money as political propaganda influenced Colombian artist Santiago Montoya while Czech Dita Havránková shared the face of a beautiful woman. Finally, Czech Daniel Hanzlík found painting the roof of a car to be a bit of marketing, so he symbolized these thoughts in a plus-and-minus symbol pattern.

Burian recruited the artists. Some she knew from collaborations with Tina B. and the others she found after visiting the Basel Art Fair and inviting artists whose designs she thought would work well on the roof of a car. Also slated for the auction is a specially designed Mini Cooper in its entirety. Burian said the car, painted by Daniel Gonzalez from Argentina, has received some amazing reactions as it putters around Prague.

The Dorotheum auction house will handle the official duties. The benefit was added to the bill of an already scheduled auction, so organizers hope people, already full of auction excitement, will be eager to bid for interesting art. Proceeds from the auction will be split. European Art Centre Sneženka will receive half the profits, with the other half to be split between the participating artists and Tina B. Sneženka brings disabled children and art together at their center in Smržovka in Jizerské hory. Led by artists, the children can discover a variety of art forms like ceramics and painting.

Sneženka co-founder Jirí Hladík says the money raised from the auction will go to continue such activities at the art center. Burian feels the project offers benefits for everyone involved.

“”People can get a very special piece of art, for a good price, and help children at the same time,”” she said.