Prague events

From M to ZZZ: Contemporary Latvian Art in the Langhans Gallery

Dec 30, 16:29 Filed under prague-events

In the basement there is an installation consisting of three projecting units and three large screens. The project is called Solitude and was created by Katerina Neiburga.

What you see are stills, combined so that they resemble shots, showing you an untidy apartment. The series of photographs move, mostly one or two at a time. They show you the home, various objects, mostly deserted, only with parts of human bodies often reaching into the frame. You may hear sounds of a common household in the background: people talking in another room, children, doors slamming etc. Then the pictures move to the streets as our “narrator” drives a car. There is an effective illusion of movement and a lot of street noise. It takes about ten minutes, requires a bit of patience, but it’s worth it.

Solitude and emptiness are recurring themes in the following exhibits. Sometimes it is quite explicit. Other parts of the exhibition also deal with photographs, films stills and their combinations. On the first floor there are some impressive photos (by Inta Ruka) and some, in my opinion, over- stylized photo-graphics, which show hollow interiors with people merging with wood. But the most attractive object here is a screen, showing very short “films” by Arnis Balcus. These are black and white, told in stills and clearly inspired by B- movies and 70’s cheap action thrillers. It’s funny and imaginative, with a nicely eclectic musical score.

There is also an LP, which consists of two broken LPs glued into one. One half is a Soviet propagandist song, other is an Latvian folk song, which you can also listen to in a provided CD player. The resulting effect is pretty bizarre: you always hear about a second of one and then a second of the other. Since it’s mostly a pompous choral and a slow, modest ballad, it sounds strange indeed.

In the last room there are more photos, including a series of fictional film stills- photographs stylized in the way that they resemble frozen frames of a film. What you see are results of Andrej Grants’s project ZZZ. The first part of the exhibition’s name is provided by M by Girts Korps. An experimental video project catches most of your attention in the last room. It combines video and photograph into a layered visual product. It’s quite difficult, supplied with appropriate, but not really pleasant, noise music, and definitely not recommended for epileptics.

This short summary doesn’t do justice to the authors of this inspiring exhibition. It is often quite avant- garde (if the word itself isn’t already an anachronism) and it definitely requires patience and will to accept something new.

The Langhans Gallery was opened in 2003 on the same premises that were accommodated by Jan Langhans (1851- 1928), a very famous photographer of his time. The gallery aims to promote progressive art forms and combinations of various formats. The entrance is quite cheap. The full admission is 60Czk and it’s a pleasant little place.

Beings from nowhere

Nov 10, 16:20 Filed under prague-events

There is an interesting exhibition you can visit in City Gallery Prague, which is situated in the 4th floor of the main building of the Prague Municipal Library, Marianske Square nr. 1, not far from the Old town Square.

The exhibition is called Bytosti odnikud, in English Beings from nowhere, with a subtitle Metamorphoses of Academic Principles in paintings of the first half of the twentieth century. The title of the exhibition quite appropriately says what it is about. It presents works which were made with aims to present human body, somehow following academic principles of its depictions, set centuries ago. Although those principles were seriously “overcomed“ by avant-garde movements in late 19th and first half of 20th century, there obviously still were authors, who followed old academic principles of realistic depiction of human body, and especially popular depictions of female naked body. But their works were in history of Art put behind those done by progressive avant-garde authors. This quite extensive exhibition now “puts them on light“. If you like realistic painting, and especially painting of female nudes, which are there plenty, you should like some of the works exhibited here. But you also visit it if you are interested in Art history and want to discover some of its less known chapters.

Entrance fee to the gallery is 120 Czk or 60 Czk reduced price for students, children and retirees. Opening hours are from 10 am to 6 pm every day except Mondays. And the exhibition is to be opened until 1st of February 2009.

Designblok 2008

Oct 7, 09:41 Filed under prague-events

If you are really interested in design, you definitely should not miss out Designblok, the most important event dedicated to contemporary design, which takes place in the Czech Republic’s capital Prague. This year already for the 10th time, and this time under the subtitle “Celebration“.

Desingblock aims to present mainly Czech designers and companies, but also doesn’t forget on subjects from abroad. Opening ceremony is on Monday evening, 6th of October, and then you can enjoy the week full of design, until Sunday, 12th of October.

The most imporatnt places of this year’s Designblok are two so-called Superstudios, one of them, Superstudio Corso is in Karlin, in Krizikova Street number 38, very close to metro station Krizikova (yellow/B line), second one, Superstidio Dox is in Prague 7, in Poupetova Street, number 1a. Here are taking place opening and closing ceremonies and here are exibited things which are regarded as the most interesting. Both Superstudios are opened from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Here you can buy the entrance ticket, which costs 150 Czk or 100 Czk, for students, kids under 15 years are for free. The ticket will allow you to enter both Superstudios repeatedly.

But many other events can be also seen in another places, mainly in the city centre, there are prepared interesting showrooms, fashion shows…

More information about this year’s Designblok can be found on the official website of the project: There is program of the whole Designblock, what happens each day, where is exhibited what…

Langhans Palace – the place for photography lovers

Jul 17, 15:04 Filed under prague-events

If you are a fan of photography – whatever if as an active photography maker or better admirer of pictures taken by others or, which is the best, you like both – Langans Pallace is a place which you should not miss you are to stay in Prague for some longer time.

The Langans Palace is situated in Vodickova Street, just by the Svetozor Passage. You can easily get to Vodickova by Metro, it is on station Mustek, which is a crossroad of yellow and green line, the best way is to go to green line and then just follow the signs “Vodickova”. Another possibility is to take a tram or just to walk there, as it is in the city centre, very close to the middle part of famous Wenceslas Square.

The palace itself is also interesting architectonic as it is a beautiful building in a secession style which was lately reconstructed in an innovative way.

But finally, so what that good is situated here that is worth of visit? There is a big photographic shop called Centrum FotoSkoda. They sell various cameras here, both digital and classical and both brand new ones, bit older ones as well as used one (both classical and digital), and there is really wide range of items and staff is quite able to give you useful advices if you are looking for something. I myself bought here an old camera – famous Practica and I was pretty satisfied, both with the camera itself as with the help of stuff. But they obviously do not sell only cameras but also camera equipments, bags for cameras, films, different camera filters, paper for those who like to make their photos on their own and many other things like this, and they also have here books and magazines about photography, as well as postcards with photos of big photographers any many many other things related to photography you can thing of. But Centrum FotoSkoda is not only a shop, it is also a minilab – a place when you can let your pictures to be printed. And they can make them in a really wide range of formats, small, big, huge, panoramas… Both from classical films as well as digital photos. And if you need or just want to have your pictures fast, you can ask for an express services and have them in one hour, and it is not that much more expensive. They also offer services of an atelier, where they can make a pictures of you – for example for documents, but also bigger ones. But I have never tried this service, so cannot say how good are they in this. I like Centrum FotoSkoda, as they have pretty good range of both goods and services.

But in Langhans Palace, there is also a gallery, if you go through little court, you will see it. Called Langhans Gallery, sometimes presents really interesting photographs. Right now, there is an exhibition I am not afraid, showing pictures of South African Johannesburg. This exhibition is opened until 17th of August. More information about the gallery can be found here and more information about Centrum FotoSkoda as well as prices of some of their services here

Summer Shakespeare Festival 2008 Prague

Jul 16, 11:55 Filed under prague-events

Maybe while traveling in public transport or while strolling in beautiful Prague streets you have noticed red posters with a red photograph of young woman with white and black text on them saying “Letni Shakespearovske slavnosti 2008”. So if case you were wandering what that is, this article should make it clearer.

It is already a tradition, that in summer you can see many drama pieces by the world most famous dramatic ever – a British William Shakespeare in Prague. Well, he is that popular that sometimes is doubted that Romeo and Juillet was written by this guy from Stratford upon Avon, and there are many theories about another authors of this and other popular pieces. But whoever is the author, those plays came into history under label of William Shakespeare tragedies and comedies. So the biggest open air theatre festival in the Czech Republic bears his name. The festival, which is this year held under the patronage of the president of the Czech Republic, is pretty popular and every summer keeps in being one of the major cultural events of the season, especially as National theatre has summer holidays.
The festivals is very attractive not only because of high number of stars engaged – both of off stage (great directors, costumers and so on) and on stage – skillful and popular actors, but it is also very popular because of the location where it takes place – in the Prague Castle. This year some plays can also be seen in the court of Lichtenstein palace on Malostranske Square. But festival also traditionally takes places also outside of Prague – on ancient castles of Brno, the second biggest Czech city and Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia, and this year it expands to Ostrava and Kosice in Eastern Slovakia.

And what will be seen? The comedy of Errors, directed by famous Czech theatrical director Ivan Rejmont, then popular piece A midsummer night´s Dream, tragedy Othello, fairy tale The Tempest, comedy As you like it, famous Merchant of Venice or tragedy Mackbeth and, but only in Ostrava Richard III and, only in Slovakia, Antonius and Cleopatra.

The productions are performed in Czech (in some cases also in Slovak) language, unfortunately for those who can´t speak Czech. But even though there are visited by such people, mostly because of the joy of seeing famous drama pieces staged in beautiful environment of old castle, with good stage scenery and costumes and to see an excellent performances of some pretty good actors.

And for any visitors of Prague Castle, also for those who don’t intent to see any of the plays, there is prepared an exhibition by the organizers, this time for the 5th time already, called Maximum Photography. This year it is named Nocni chodec (Night walker) and presents poetic black and white photographs of Czech photographer Vaclav Chochola. You can see this big size photos in beautiful gardens of the castle. So if you plan to take a walk through castle, you may enjoy them here. They are to be exhibited here from 2nd of July until 28th of September. Festival itself lasts this year from 25th of June to 8th of September.

Love – Desire – Passion - Exhibition

Jul 8, 15:20 Filed under prague-events

There is an attractive exhibition now in Prague. The name itself is already appealing – it is called Love – Desire – Passion (Laska – touha – vasen in Czech) with a subtitle which specifies what visitors of this exhibition will see – the subtitle is Erotic Themes in 15th to 19th Century Art.

The exhibition takes place in exhibition spaces of the Clam Gallas Pallace in Husova Street and was prepared by Prague City Archives and National Gallery in Prague in cooperation with the Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague.

Love, desire and passions fascinate humans since the beginning of ages, some ways how those themes were depicted in European western culture from 15th to 19th centuries can be seen on the exhibition. The exhibition does not really try for some “higher intellectual aims” – as to come with new discoveries in the field of Art history. The main aim is to make an attractive event for visitors, who can enjoy beautiful pieces of Art, sometimes even quite provocative ones. Although, there are some pieces, which are exhibited on the public for the very first time, because of their provocative topic.

As love, desire and passion can exist in many different ways, love for example – a big difference between a lover of a mother to her child and a love of passion lovers. So the pictures shows love in many different situations as well. There is shown idealistic motherly and daughterly love (Charitas), famous stories of biblical and mythological love, but also moralizing genres and even erotic fantasies. All that with emphasis on the works of Italian, German, French, Dutch and Flemish masters. There are mainly paintings, but also some examples of other techniques – sculpture, drawing… and probably the most interesting for visitors – graphic. In the technique of engraving because of its intimate nature has always allowed more openness. There are to be seen for example works of British Artist named Aubrey Beardsley, who made very erotic illustrations to antique comedy Lysistrata (written by famous Aristophanes, the story is about women who decide to stop pleasing their men unlit they stop their fights). It is said that Beardsley did not want this illustrations to be preserved after his death, but they were and now you can enjoy watching them. Among other famous Artists whose works are exhibited on Love – Desire – Passion exhibition can be named Albrecht Durer, Fransisco Jose Goya de Lucientes or Joos van Cleve. And there is also a separate section which shows works done by Czech Artists of 19th century as Josef Manes, Vaclav Brozik, Vaclav Hynais and so on.

So if you feel for enjoying some culture and Arts in Prague, this might be a way you could like. The exhibition is opened from 29th of April until 31st of August 2008, daily, with the exceptions of Mondays, from 10 am to 6 pm. Entrance fee is 100 Czk full price and 50 Czk reduced. The Clam Gallas Pallace is situated in Husova Street number 20, it is in the city center, not far from Staromestska Metro station.

Angels sleeping - Gottfried Helnwein in the Rudolfinum Gallery

Jul 2, 14:56 Filed under prague-events

Works by Austrian artist Gottfried Helnwein are now to be seen in the Rudolfinum Gallery on the exhibition entitled Angels sleeping. He is a phenomenon in a field of hyperrealistic painting. Working in a technique of oil and acrylic painting, he makes extremely precise canvases of a big measure, based on photographs. Their topics are taken from history as well as from pop-culture and he also often deals with theme of a child in extreme situations. The realistic look of painting is startling; he is very precise and technically extremely skilful. But the paintings look bit too strange… well, but I let you to make your opinion on your own, after the visit of the exhibition.

The exhibition in Rudolfinum is divided into five sections. Firs one shows portraits of the artist’s bandaged face, in the second part are paintings with references to the Nazi past of Austria, both the third and fourth sections have a child in different strange situations as their central subject. The fifth part differs from other ones, as it consists not of hyperrealistic paintings, which look almost as photographs, but it consists photographs itself – showing Marylin Manson as a strange icon of popculture.

Some of works exhibited here are loaned from the property of Gottfried Helwein, some from both public and private collections, and there is a big and representative among of them. I did not really like them, but if you are into hyperrealism, you definitelly should see it. Also it is worth to know, that exhibitions in Rudolfinum are always quite important, as it is one of top exhibiting places in Prague.

The exhibition is to be seen from 11th of June to 31st of August. The Rudolfinum Gallery is opened daily except Mondays, always from 10 am to 6 pm. The entrance fee is 120 Czk full price and 60 Czk reduced fee (students, seniors), children under 15 years old are for free. The Rudolfinum Gallery is accessible form Alsovo nabrezi, but is located in the Rudulfinum building, which is located on Jana Palacha Square, best accessible form Staromestska or Malostranska tram stations (both green line) or eventually also from bus or tram stations (Staromestska – trams 17 and 18, Malostranska – 12, 18, 22, 23, 12, 20).

Permanent Exhibition of Asian Art in Zbraslav

Jun 11, 14:12 Filed under prague-events

Although Zbraslav is a part of Prague, it feels more like a small town of central Bohemia. But being down the river, on the South of the city, it’s still accessible by the city public transport. That’s from the left side where Smíchov or Hradcany lie, while on the opposite side a biker may take a route from Modřany up to the place, going along the river bank.

The chateau hosts a permanent exhibition of Asian art. The ground floor is mostly Japanese. Every room is supplied with a thorough, well- written commentary in Czech and English; each room is mostly devoted to a single theme, period or a major technique. The various influences are interesting, for example the similarities between 19th Century Japanese ceramics and the European art noveau decorations, or the very early hints of the comic- book style of drawing. There are some very old sheets with of a storyboard- like character, where a series of pictures tells the story of an ancient legend, the short comments written on a side.

The Chinese part is on the second floor. There you may see a quick walk through the country’s art from simple artifacts, buried with the deceased or later statues- guards of tombs to examples of Middle Ages and Modern Times painting and Buddhist sculptures. Buddhism naturally plays an important role in all parts of the exhibition. The supplied commentaries also provide a brief, but competent overview of Chinese history, as it is reflected in the creations of the eras.

That is, including the last one, which consist of a mixture of other Asian regions. Examples of Indian, Indonesian… consist mainly of Buddhist religious and ritual objects. There is also a room with an exhibition of Asian Moslem artifacts, for example old prayer rugs. The Japanese and Chinese sections are far richer, but this does provide certain wider framework. I would recommend to end the visit in this one, although the order is purely voluntary.

Not that this would be all to see. There is also a temporary exhibition of Korean art. But the permanent one is unique considering the number of objects owned by the National Gallery. Apart from paintings and drawings there are lots of various boxes, dishes, vases, sculptures of various shapes and sizes, even some toys; generally a wide range of art both religious and decorative.

Groupe Guma Guar: Collective identity Art project on the wall of Letenske sady

Jun 3, 16:03 Filed under prague-events

An interesting project was created by a group of Artists calling themselves “Groupe Guma Guar”. They call it Collective Identity and they hung it on the wall of park Letenske sady – which they now call Artwall Gallery. Art Wall Gallery is thus open 24 hours a day, for free, to anyone. Accessible for example from tram stop Nabrezi kapitana Jarose.

On the wall there are advertising posters-like looking pictures of some people. Maybe you do not know them, but they are important personas of Czech political or economical life. There is Pavel Bem, the Prague mayor or Victor Kozeny, the big defrauder, who stole lots of money during the privatization in early 1990´s and then left the country.

The group states, that by their project, they want to point on the problematic of “manufacturing consent” in a so called democratic society, when public attitudes are corrected by public relations so they would be good for the government and for economic elites close to the government. Guma Guar tries to show that is more then problematic to use for such purposes public money of tax payers.

One of such problematic “manufacturing consent” was the campaign for the Olympic games in Prague in 2016, called “Vsichni jsme v narodnim tymu” (We all are in the national team). That what now hang on the Letenske sady wall is a parody on it, if we are all in the national team, is the defrauder Victor Kozeny also there then?

Quite well done project should give us a notice that there should be some public discussion over “manufacturing consent” practiced in our contemporary society.

Christopher Dresser – Pioneer of Modern Design – an exhibition in the Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague

May 7, 14:07 Filed under prague-events

Christopher-Dresser-Teapot-1879 On 10th of April started an interesting exhibition in the Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague. It presents the choice of work of Christopher Dresser, the very important persona of design history. This man is often considered as the first significant designer at all. In the second half of the 19th century, there was a broad movement, which aimed to raise the aesthetic standard of objects that surround people in their everyday life. Those aesthetic standards were considered to be low, mainly because of the industrial production. That is why many participants of this movement tried to return to handiwork and old style of manufactures. On the other hand, Christopher Dresser fully accepted the industrial devices and modern manufacturing methods and he was designing objects that were then manufactured in modern ways. That is why is considered as a “pioneer of modern design” as says the subtitle of the exhibition. His significant designs of metal teapots, soup tureens, toasts racks and other objects became very famous and his “handwrite” is easy to be recognized here. But he did not design only metal objects, but also pottery as well as furniture or wallpapers.

Toast rack and kettle, by Christopher Dresser Dresser was also very interested in botany and in investigating botanical natural laws, which then reflected in his work. And what is very important, he visited Japan. Japan was a country, which was for the long time completely closed to Europeans. When it finally opened its boarders, its culture was extremely fascinating and inspiring for Europeans. Dresser came here for few months, was welcomed by the emperor himself, and studied here Japanese Art and culture and was also an advisor in the questions of modern trade. Then there obviously was a strong Japanese influence to be found in his work, some of his designs even were direct copies of Japanese originals.

The current exhibition in the Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague is focused mainly on presenting smaller metal objects – table implements, which are designer´s most famous works. In them, he achieved a purity of shape so they are until now recognized as timeless symbols of modern design. And so if you have a bit deeper interest in design, this is something you should not miss out.

The exhibition is opened until 8th of June. The museum´s opening hours are from 10 am to 6 pm from Wednesday to Sunday and until 7 pm on Tuesdays, closed on Mondays. The museum is best accessible from Staromestka public transport stop – metro A line, trams 17 and 18 or bus number 133.


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