After eight years of existence, the Trafačka art gallery in Prague is closing down, making way for a new housing development. Over the years, Trafačka, which is situated in a former transmission station in the Vysočany district, has become a respected centre for young artists and featured dozens of exhibitions and other events. I met with one of its founders, street and graffiti artist Jan Kaláb, to look back at the history of this unique space:
On the recent 25th anniversary of the start of the Velvet Revolution a previously unknown street art group named Pražská služba (Prague Service) made headlines at home and abroad for painting over the murals and graffiti on Prague’s John Lennon Wall, leaving it completely white apart from the words Wall is Over! To find out why they did it, I spoke to a member of Pražská služba, Mikuláš Karpeta. But we first discussed the origins of the Lennon Wall, a symbol of freedom in the communist era that is today a tourist attraction.
I decided it was time to update my profile picture on Facebook and I needed to go to the Lennon Wall to do that. As a study abroad student in Prague, I didn’t go to the Lennon Wall during the first month I was here, like everyone else in my program, because at first, I didn’t think it was worth it. I would see the pictures on social media with the typical John Lennon quotes to accompany them, but to me, it wasn’t a big deal.
Perhaps Brno’s best known street artist, the man known as Timo has just moved indoors for the first time, with a new exhibition at the city’s Off/Format gallery. Timo’s art has been acclaimed as poetic, funny and socially critical; the show, entitled Indoor Adventures, features some of his more subtle pieces, but also offers a sample of his street creations.
Restoration work at the famous Palác Lucerna in Prague has taken an unusual turn – combining modern street art with the ancient technique of window decoration. The feature that has attracted attention is a stained glass window that was designed by one of the best known local graffiti artists, Pasta Oner.
Part of Prague’s City Gallery, one of the city’s best-known venues, has been turned inside out, recently launching an exhibition of work not usually restricted by gallery walls. Entitled Stuck on the City, the show brings together work of top international street art and graffiti artists, names like Swoon, Zedz, the Czech Republic’s Pasta Oner and others.
The Nusle bridge in Prague will host the works of Czech and international street artists. The 485-meter long concrete communist-era giant will get a facelift during the month of September. Grafitti and street artists from the Czech Republic, Germany, the United States, France, the Netherlands, Spain, France and Poland will leave their mark on the eight pillars of the bridge and plan to create a unique gallery along its sides. The opening will most likely be on 3 October, but organizers of the project say it will depend on the weather and the speed with which the artists will be able to work.
Air quality, the unemployment rate and the cost of public transportation – many factors influence the perceived quality of life in urban spaces. A fresh survey suggests that there is much left to improve when it comes to the quality of life in the Czech capital, with the most-cited nuisances of Prague residents being garbage and graffiti. By contrast, public transportation is viewed as adequate and fairly priced by most.
The music of Vladimir 518 has been a staple of the Czech hip hop scene since it started in the 1990s. Now he has taken his music to a unique performance called Spam that uses cutting-edge video arts to honour architect Karel Prager. Prager was the mind behind some of the most marvelled at and most despised structures in Prague, including the National Theatre’s New Scene building, where the show was held. At the beginning of a wide-ranging interview I asked him why he had chosen the controversial designer as the theme for this latest production.