A most unusual art exhibition opened at Prague's Manes Gallery on Friday night. Titled Prazdroj Ceske Kultury or "The Fount of Czech Culture" it brought together close to a hundred works of art inspired by beer - pictures, paintings, photographs, sculptures and installations. The idea was sponsored by the famous Pilsner brewery Pilsner Urquell which turned it into a major social event. Among the VIPs present were culture minister Pavel Dostal, film director Zdenek Sverak, actor Pavel Landovsky and writers Michal Viewegh and Radko Pytlik. The exhibits sparked some deep philosophical discussions and pints of free beer helped the conversation to flow. Alexej Bechtin of the famous Pilsner Urquell brewery explains what inspired the event:
"In Czech culture, in Czech tradition, in Czech history beer is much more that a beverage, a business product, beer is a part of this country's everyday life, part of the tradition, part of the deep social debate. So we tried to assemble some examples of art inspired by beer, mainly paintings of course -where the connection is more visible -however we also tried to collect some examples from literature, some films, the music of groups which played in Czech pubs in the 70s -mainly underground music, so there is a wide range of exhibits."
How far back does it go?
"Although we realize that art inspired by beer goes back to medieval days we go back only to the beginning of the twentieth century where the connection is especially visible. A perfect example is Josef Lada's illustrations of Schweik and some other drawings and paintings from the pub environment. Then you have this wallpaper by Michal Cihlar -a very famous Czech graphic designer - wallpaper with small figures drinking beer and playing around beer. There are also some sculptures -Kurt Gebauer's famous dwarfs. We say that the symbol of the exhibition is this dwarf drinking beer."
If you are listening to us in Prague and would like to see the exhibition at the Manes Gallery -you have plenty of time - it is open until September 26th.
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