The Vernon family of art spaces is a unique group of galleries showcasing contemporary art by a range of, mostly Czech, artists. Each space has its own unique feel and mission, but all three blend beautifully to offer a special spin on the Czech art and gallery scene.
Galerie Vernon (www.galerievernon.com) was the first physical space in the venture’s evolvement. Located in owner Monika Burian’s Prague 7 flat, it is easy to describe it as “homey” and “comfortable.” Vernon PR manager Markéta Faustová says openings are definitely family affairs, with Monika’s children attending in their pj’s. But what might seem a bit un-art world like, actually works, as the space is a functioning gallery, meaning discussions and purchases can be done in the privacy of someone’s home. Luckily, or by design, the flat also works as a display space. Huge windows flood the high-ceilinged rooms with light. Large “passageways” in each wall connect each room, and serve almost as frames for the art on display in the adjoining space. The gallery concentrates mainly on Czech artists, both up-and-coming and more established ones. Opened in 2001, Faustová says Galerie Vernon doesn’t focus on a specific genre, but prefers to choose their artists based on the concept, what it’s about and what’s inside.
“It’s usually younger artists, we like to present newer artists, that may occasionally be well-known abroad,” she explains. “The artists presenting works are slightly known, so we try to present them and help them to be seen.” Faustová says the gallery usually does between seven and eight exhibitions a year using rotating curators.
“Sometimes it’s Monika, sometimes the artists coordinate, we have artists writing, asking for their work to be displayed, and sometimes we ask curators to design something for us,” she says. This method makes for an ever-changing line-up that ensures a great deal of variety.
Through September 31, the Galerie will exhibit “Allein (Alone)” by Petra Polifková. A series of autobiographical paintings, Polifková focused on portraits and places she knows. The title “Alone” is not meant to be melancholy, but more of an individual’s pilgrimage through new places.
Five years later, Galerie Vernon expanded with the Vernon Projekt (www.vernonprojekt.com). The purpose here is to bring art to the people, and show that art doesn’t necessarily have to be a landscape painting or portrait, but is diverse and thought provoking.
“It’s an open space, nonstop, anyone can pass by and see it,” explains Faustová. “The space is for sight specific installations, not paintings or sculptures but conceptual projects.”
Located on the corner of Janovského and Hermanova in Prague 7, (Galerie Vernon is about two buildings down at Janovského 23) its big shop front windows can easily be mistaken for something else, depending on the project on display. Through September 31, you can stroll by and stop for a look at Markéta Hlinovská’s Podzemí/Underground. A series of paintings cut into black folio, the installation should give the illusion of being able to look above and below ground at the same time.
Hlinovská says about her creation: “Against the background of the situations portrayed it is possible to elaborate stories and raise the question of what caused them and where they end.”
The newest Vernon sibling is Vernon City (www.galerievernon.com), born May 2009. Located city-center at Ovocný trh, the newest space is more accessible and brings the Vernon art experience to tourists, and general passersby. Thanks to the generosity of Metrostav, who owns the building, Vernon has a one year lease, which they are hoping will be extended. Vernon City is combining the methods of Galerie Vernon and Vernon Projekt by presenting modern art, usually the work of young artists from the Czech Republic and abroad and new approaches to art. They opened with a bang offering a group exhibition of new media art by seven artists. “No Reply Necessary” runs through July 26 and is a mix of video projections, a light box installation, paintings and sculptures. The building is historic, and the frescoed ceiling has been kept.
Whether you are in the market to purchase art on not, the Vernon family consistently showcases a unique selection of artists from a variety of different genres. Watching their galleries is an excellent way to stay on top of the emerging Czech contemporary art scene.