The Czech art market saw the second best result in its history last year, according to data released by the Czech art investment website artplus.cz. Collectors and investors spent about 926 million crowns at Czech auctions in 2015, which is around 70 million more than in the previous year. The most expensive painting was a still life by Emil Filla which sold for more than 16 million crowns. I asked Jan Skřivánek of ArtPlus what kind of art was most sought after at auction houses:
When Sarah Perry’s first novel “After Me Comes the Flood” was published two years ago the reviews in the British press were superlative. Reviewers welcomed the book’s eerie and uncanny qualities, Gothic-smudged, as one critic put it. It is shortly to be followed by a second novel “The Essex Serpent” and now Sarah Perry is on a two-month residency in Prague, this time in search of a peculiarly Central European variant of the Gothic. In Czech Books she talks to David Vaughan.
Today’s edition of Sunday Music Show is dedicated to Vladimír Merta, one of the country’s best singer-songwriters and an excellent guitarist, who has just celebrated his 70th birthday. He marked the day earlier this week with a concert at Prague’s Akropolis, which was attended by a number of guest musicians, including Jaromír Nohavica, Vladimír Mišík and Michal Prokop.
There will be great excitement in the Czech art world on Friday when Ai Weiwei makes his first appearance in Prague. The world-famous Chinese artist and activist will be in town to officially open an exhibition of his Zodiac Heads at the Czech National Gallery, kicking off celebrations of its 220th anniversary. On the eve of Ai Weiwei’s visit, I asked the director of the National Gallery, Jiří Fajt, what the presence of an artist of such stature means to his institution.
Jana Kománková runs Proti šedi (which translates as “against the grey”), a highly useful one-stop website for anybody interested in arts events in Prague. She has been a well-known name in local alternative music circles since the early 1990s, as a deejay with Radio 1 and a critic with numerous magazines and newspapers. Remarkably the Prague-born Kománková began reviewing concerts for Rock & Pop at only 17. When we met at a café, I asked her how she’d managed to launch her career at such an early age.