Taking a Break from Art is Impossible, Part 2
After some great art adventures in Berlin and Copenhagen, we found ourselves finally taking a step (or two) back from our work, putting down our laptops, and wandering aimlessly through the beautiful old streets of Prague.
Of course, that doesn't mean we stopped looking at the art. On the contrary! With sooty cathedrals and cement contemporary galleries lining most of Prague's cobbled streets, we visited Byzantine Era masterpieces and Jakub Matuška's "Breathe Motherfu****!" paintings like they were neighbors. Actually, they were!
In contrast to Berlin, where the most efficient way around the city is the U-Bahn, and Copenhagen, where bikes dominate the streets, the best way around Prague is to walk. It's flat and compact, and while charming, the cobblestone boulevards would make any bike ride a spine-shaker.
from top left: Powder Tower, Rotating steel portrait of Franz Kafka, by David Cerny, renowned Czech conceptual artist, Cerny's hanging man, which some people say is a sculpture of Sigmund Freud, Walking across Charles Bridge Old Town Square
And walk we did! Winding our way through Old Town, Mala Straná, and Smichov we sought out contemporary galleries to visit between monasteries, castles, and cathedrals. We found Gallerie Cermak Eisenkraft, featuring a two person exhibition of Simon Brejcha and Martin Velisek, titled, "Reality? Reality!"
David took us to an abandoned military center on the outskirts of town (see top left picture below) to meet Eva Fajčíková a recent Prague Fine Arts Academy graduate who just moved her art studio into this complex. Her beautifully crafted figurative paintings reference fashion, cinema, religion, and the occult.
Then we headed back towards Old Town to meet Jakub Špaňhel, whose large-scale gestural paintings range from nudes, flowers, landscapes, butterflies, and, lately, gas stations and central banks of various countries. He showed us a recent commission; massive stain glass panels installed in a modern cathedral nearby.
Why is it so fun comparing technique notes and talking about materials with other artists? I don't know, but in any country, any city, any landscape, we could do this all day. (and we did!)
Before dropping us back to centuries past at our Old Town starting point, David took us two contemporary galleries that focus on Czech artists. The work we saw was as varied as the architecture, sidewalk patterns, and people you'll find in Prague.
top two images: Works from the exhibition, "Breathe Motherfucker" at DSC Gallery showing the work of street artist, Jakub Matuška (aka Masker). Aleš Knupp showed us the artwork in his eponymous Knupp Gallery, which includes paintings sculptures, prints, photos, and glass art from emerging and mid-career Czech artists.
As with everything, our trip couldn't last forever. But how can we complain about leaving three beautiful cities for our own fair San Francisco? We can't. We're ready to face our hungry cats, inspired to get busy in our art studios, and happy to get back on the stARTup bus.
Thank you to the artists, dealers, curators and guides we met on our travels. You made our visit meaningful and memorable.
And, special thanks to Mica England, Raphael Fiquet, and our new Curator and Art Advisor, Josefin Lundahl for keeping the wheels on the bus while we were away!