Art historian Anna Fárová has, for over 60 years, worked tirelessly to catalogue and promote the great Czech photographers as we know them today. She was responsible for building up the Museum of Decorative Arts’ first photography collection, before being dismissed for signing Charter 77. She catalogued the complete works of František Drtikol, inherited the estate of photographer Josef Sudek, and worked closely with an exiled Josef Koudelka throughout her career. The art historian also struck up friendships with Arthur Miller and Henri Cartier-Bresson.
A new exhibition dedicated to Karel Čapek has been launched at the Czech National Library at Prague’s Clementinum, 70 years after the great Czech writer’s death. The show recreates aspects of the era in which Čapek lived, as well as offering an insight into his personal life. There is also a special section dedicated to his co-operation with the founder of Czechoslovakia, President T.G. Masaryk.
Czech designer Jan Čtvrtník has been receiving a great deal of recognition around the continent recently for one of his nifty pieces of glassware, highlighting the issue of climate-change. Čtvrtník’s vase - depicting a shrinking lake - won an international competition in Amsterdam in September, and has now been lauded by British newspaper The Independent for its environmentally-aware design. I spoke to Jan Čtvrtník, who’s currently living and working in Italy, and asked him first about the inspiration behind his award-winning piece:
This Tuesday marks 90 years since the foundation of the independent Czechoslovak state. To celebrate this important anniversary, the National Museum, together with the Military History Institute in Prague and the Czech Senate, has put together a major new exhibition entitled Republika or The Republic, dedicated to the first twenty years of the new state.
The old industrial district of Holešovice in Prague 7 has undergone something of a revival in recent years, a change perhaps best exemplified by the opening last weekend of an ambitious new art gallery on the site of a late 19th century factory in the area. At 3000 square metres, Dox is far and away the biggest privately-owned gallery in the Czech Republic.
Josef Sudek was one of the most important Czech photographers of the last century. Whatever he turned his camera to - be it Prague’s monumental St. Vitus’ Cathedral, or his own lowly studio window – exploded with light upon being snapped. He enjoyed critical acclaim throughout his life, and after his death in 1976 public interest in his work has remained immense. His former studio, in Prague’s Malá Strana, has been rebuilt in his honour. The space, which now exhibits young Czech photographers’ works, is run in part by Miloslav Saňko:
Five investors have already shown an interest in the embattled Czech glassmakers Crystalex Nový Bor and Kavalier Sázava, the magazine Euro reported on Monday. The two firms both currently belong to Bohemia Crystalex Trading, which is on the brink of bankruptcy and therefore selling off assets. The possible buyers include Germany’s Schott, Indian-American firm Borosil and three investment funds, Euro writes. The biggest interest is said to be for Kavalier, as this firm produces glass for solar panels. Bohemia Crystalex Trading has attributed its dire financial situation to a slump in interest and the strength of the crown hurting exports.
If you go down to the woods today, you’re sure of a big surprise… A walk around Prague’s scenic Císařský Ostrov will lead you to a gigantic replica Trojan horse, made and inhabited by Czech sculptor Ivan Nacvalač. The horse is home to a gallery, and since it opened in July, the site has played host to a number of impromptu concerts, and a summer full of barbecues open to all. I paid it a visit and asked Mr Nacvalač how it came about:
The activities of Czechoslovak armed units on the side of the Allied powers during World War I helped Czechs and Slovaks win consent to form their own state when the conflict ended in 1918. The legions that had been fighting in Russia, however, became embroiled in that country’s civil war, and didn’t get home until two years later. Their fascinating story is the subject of a new exhibition in Prague.
A number of hugely important historical moments have been remembered in the Czech Republic this year: the communist takeover of 1948, the Soviet-led invasion of 1968, and the signing of the Munich agreement in 1938. But there is also one anniversary that Czechs can mark with pleasure – the foundation of Czechoslovakia 90 years ago, on October 28th 1918. Among the institutions marking that day is Prague Castle, which has organised several events.
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