Brusel Dream - exhibition in the Prague City Gallery

expo 58 atomium tatra At this moment, there is an interesting exhibition in one branch of the Prague City Gallery – in the Municipal library. The exhibition is called Brusel Dream and shows how Czechoslovakia presented itself on the world exhibition Expo 58 in Brusel in Belgium. It was fifty years ago, so now comes an ideal time to remember this event, which was (not only) for Czechoslovak culture pretty important.

Expo 1958 was the first world exhibition after almost 20 years. The last previous one was in 1939 in New York. Then came the World War II. which devastated many countries so much, that they had many other, more important things to do, then to prepare events like this. So when finally the world exhibition Expo 58 in Brusel was annonced, it was expected impationelly and with excitement. The world was finally recovering of war damages…

People were the most curious about the presentation of the U.S.S.R. and the U.S.A., two main enemies in the cold war. The Expo 58 was to be something like their ideological battleground. And the main topic of the exhibition was the cosmos – both macro and micro. Americans and Russian were competing between each other in discovering the space, at this time Russians were ahead – the hit of the Soviet pavilion and the whole exhibition was their space racket Sputnik. But there was also deep research in microcosmos – and the emblem of the exhibition was a structure of an atom.

But how did look like the Czechoslovak pavilon? What did this country presented on the exhibition. Czechoslovaks were pretty succesful at Expo 58. It was amazing, country was under strong Soviet influence, and just was slowly recovering of bad years of war and tough Stalinism, but what was presented here was of really good. Even if the people who went there were contoreled by state and usually also were not allowed to stay long. The state control was really strong. There was even written directions for those Czechoslovaks who were working in the pavilion, how should be answered eventual questions asked by those of western countries, wandering about low level of democracy in Czechoslovakia. Despite this facts, there were presented a lot of items of both Art and industry fields – architecture and interiors with innovative design, excellent glass, textile, graphic design… but especially Alfred Radok’s polyecran and Laterna magica, which combined film screenings with actions of live actors and became extremely popular. Visitors even waited in long lines to see it.

Laterna magica can be now seen in Prague, it is a neighbour of National theatre. Also exhibition pavilion was moved to Prague – it is in Letenské Sady Park, but the building is now used by advertising agency.

Expo 58 was really important event, after this there was even a style called “brusel“ in architecture and design. So if you want to get to know more about it, you should visit the Municipal library. The exhibition is on from 14th of May to 21th of September 2008. Opening hours are from Monday to Sunday from 10 am to 6 pm. Entrance fee is 120 Czk full price, 60 Czk reduced. The Municipal Library is best reached from Staromestska metro station (green line A).

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