National Gallery Prague

(1) Haris Epaminonda, Chapters, 2013.  (2) Lubor Marek, Design of the family house for Mr Břešťák in Bratislava, 1941. (3) Photo: Jan Bauer. Courtesy Jonathan Meese. (4) Romana Drdová, The Overlook, Trade Fair Palace, National Gallery in Prague. (5) Egon Schiele, Self-Portrait (detail), 1914.* 

August 3, 2015

Summer 2015 exhibitions

National Gallery in Prague
Staroměstské náměstí 12
110 15 Prague 1
Czech Republic

Veletržní palác (Trade Fair Palace)
Palác 47
170 00 Prague
7 Holešovice

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Artists and Prophets: Schiele, Hundertwasser, Kupka, Beuys and others
22 July–18 October
Trade Fair Palace (1st Floor)

Egon Schiele saw himself as a visionary and prophetic artist; František Kupka forged an abstract style of painting infused with spiritist principles; Joseph Beuys called upon the rubric of “social sculpture” for social change due to creative actions; and Friedensreich Hundertwasser was an ecological crusader whose spiral paintings were holistic in essence. These pioneering artistic attitudes and developments would have not come about without contact with several “prophets.” Some were artists, others were modern day Christs, while still others saw themselves as social revolutionaries of a kind. Their relevance for modern art remains a largely untold story; today, their names–Karl Wilhelm Diefenbach, Gusto Gräser and Gustav Nagel, as well as Friedrich Muck-Lamberty and Ludwig Christian Haeusser–have almost been forgotten. During their lifetime, however, they were widely known among a broad public and in avant-garde circles. Artists and intellectuals also admired them, albeit often behind closed doors. This exhibition presents over 350 works by artists such as Egon Schiele, František Kupka, Johannes Baader, Heinrich Vogeler, Joseph Beuys, Jörg Immendorff and Friedensreich Hundertwasser, as well as a large variety of documentation and archival materials. It both reveals causalities and establishes unexpected connections. It also embeds the “barefoot prophets” and the artistic avant-garde in a wide-ranging social historical context. 

Curated by Pamela Kort (Los Angeles/Berlin/Zurich)
Exhibition organised in collaboration with Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt.

Artists and Prophets
featuring Jonathan Meese

Installation: My Über Daddys
through 20 September
Performance:You,” Living in the Erzbox: L.O.V.E. de LARGE (VISIONTELEFON)
21 July, 8pm
Trade Fair Palace (Small Hall)

With his new piece “You,” Living in the Erzbox: L.O.V.E. de LARGE (VISIONTELEFON), developed for the National Gallery in Prague, Jonathan Meese ventures into unchartered territory in his performative practice. Best known for his large-scale, opulent and physically excessive stage performances, here the artist has chosen for the first time to conceal himself from the eye of the spectator. Hidden as though in a bunker or a cell, and only capable of briefly being glimpsed through a few holes in the enclosing crate-like structure, Meese cuts himself off from the viewer’s gaze, forcing us instead to listen and try to envision his actions and stories. Equipped with an armada of telephones, he calls upon the prophets and the artists in order to discuss a new society and land ruled by art. Although Jonathan Meese perceives himself as an anti-prophet, his concept of the “Dictatorship of Art” aligns him with the artists-cum-prophets that began to appear in the late 19th century. Like them, Meese is a religious dissenter who, through the means of art, seeks to set in motion a change in consciousness in those who behold his work. 

Architect Lubor Marek
26 June–20 September 2015
Trade Fair Palace (5th Floor)

Czech architect and painter Lubor Marek (1915–2000) belonged to the so-called “lost generation” of architects who begun their practice shortly before World War II. In the first years of his career, after having moved to Bratislava, Marek created innovative projects in which he combined local Slovak tradition with restrained Czech functionalism. After the war, he focused on designing remarkable buildings (apartment houses, hotels, funicular stations), mainly in the Low Tatra Mountains, as well as industrial buildings in Czechoslovakia and abroad. Upon his return to Prague in 1950, he started working in the state institution (the Study and Standardisation Institute STU), designing the standardized objects of popular “little schools.” Based upon an impressive number of drawings and designs from the National Gallery in Prague’s collection, and including reconstructed models of his major buildings, this exhibition is the first presentation of this important architect’s unknown oeuvre. 

Curated by Radomíra Sedláková and Jakub Potůček

Moving Image Department, 2nd Chapter: The Eclipse of an Innocent Eye
26 June–20 September 2015
Trade Fair Palace (Ground Floor)

Excavating our past by bringing it up, making it real, present and tangible: this can be perceived as a metaphor for this second chapter of the Moving Image Department, entitled The Eclipse of an Innocent Eye. Works by Haris Epaminonda, Jimmy Robert, Mark Geffriaud, Jesse Jones, Zbyněk Baladrán, Svätopluk Mikyta, Anna Zett and Basim Magdy propose different perspectives on the subject of interpretation of the past, exploring our ability to relate to it, transform it and rewrite it to help us understand what is happening here and now with our own lives and histories. As a continuation of the first chapter, the exhibition space is framed by the architectural and documentary additions of Josef Dabernig, echoing the visual and graphic interventions previously provided by Liam Gillick.

Featuring: Jean Rouch, Chronicle of a Summer (1960)
1 September, 8pm
Trade Fair Palace (Roof Terrace)

Curated by Adam Budak and Jen Kratochvil

Romana Drdová: The Overlook
26 June–20 September 2015
Trade Fair Palace (President’s Lounge)

Romana Drdova’s intervention reacts to, and simultaneously accentuates, specific features of the given installation space—the open wall overlooking Small Hall and a large expanse of the opposing glass wall. Defined mainly by light and void, the space could be easily overlooked, although it offers a unique overlook of the adjacent portion of the building. Drdová was born in 1987 and studies at the Department of New Media at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague.

Introduced by Charlotta Kotík

Mysterious Distances: Symbolism in Bohemian Lands. 1880–1914
22 April–27 September 2015
Convent of St. Agnes of Bohemia

Sho—Masters of Contemporary Japanese Calligraphy III
26 June–13 September 2015
Kinský Palace Stables

The Hidden Language of Plants: Floral Symbolism in Asian Art and its Reflection In Contemporary Art and Design
12 June 2015–3 January 2016
Kinský Palace

*Image above: (1) Haris Epaminonda, Chapters, 2013. (2) Lubor Marek, Design of the family house for Mr Břešťák in Bratislava, 1941. © The National Gallery in Prague. (3) Photo: Jan Bauer. Courtesy Jonathan Meese. (4) Romana Drdová, The Overlook, 2015. Photo: Tomáš Souček. (5) Egon Schiele, Self-Portrait (detail), 1914. Gouache and pencil on paper. © The National Gallery in Prague.

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August 3, 2015

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