Current Affairs Olympic House in London to highlight Czech arts, culture & sport
Organisers have unveiled plans for the Czech Olympic House in the area of Islington in London which will serve as a hub for thousands of visitors including, of course, sports fans during the upcoming summer Olympics. But the aim of the venue will not only be to meet Czech and other competitors (for example Usain Bolt) but also to present the Czech Republic in a modern light. The overall design was inspired by a famous abstract work by painter František Kupka, and the space itself will show works by contemporary Czech artists including David Černý, Michael Rittstein and others.
The Czech Olympic Committee’s Vice President for Finance and Marketing, Jiří Kejval, told me more:
“There has been a tradition of Czech Houses since the first in 1992 in Barcelona. But until now the concept was always for it to be closed to public and only open to the athletes, politicians and other VIPs. With London that has changed: the centre is practically around the corner and because estimate there is a large Czech minority – some 30 – 60,000 young Czechs - living there because traditionally it is a popular destination. So the challenge will be to prepare the new House for spectators, including them.”
Where will the Czech House be located?
“We found a place in Islington which is very fancy and close to King’s Cross, a very important train connection between the Olympic Park and downtown. It is a perfect location. The site, the Business Design Centre, dates back to 1860 and it was transformed into an exhibition area in the ‘70s. We’d like to present the Czech Republic as a very modern country: to have no artificial light, to have lots of projections on some 20 screens, the largest of which will be huge 175 square metres.
“We will show Czech TV broadcasts from the Olympics there but will also present Czech culture and arts and business. We want to show what the Czech Republic is.”
Among the artists taking part, I understand, will be David Černý or the famous ad-maker Ivan Zacharias...
“That’s right. Ivan is not only the best at home but one of the best in the world and he will have a large impact on the programme and many of the images. David Černý is of course also very famous and one of the most controversial Czech artists. We are in final negotiations with him about his installation. Hopefully it will be controversial in a ‘good way’ and will attract a lot of interest from Londoners and other. Michael Rittstein, another famous artist, has also been preparing a series of works and we are finalising that. In short, though, highlighting both the arts and sport and their connection is important for us – because it really comes from the idea of the Olympics.”