CREATING A NEW
AND INTERNATIONAL ART
CONVERSION OF THE ZENGER TRANSFORMER SUBSTATION BUILDING
Kunsthalle Praha is a newly emerging space for art and culture in Prague’s historical centre. It will offer visitors a wide range of exhibitions and educational projects, cultural events and social activities. Kunsthalle Praha’s mission is to contribute to a deeper understanding of Czech and international art of the 20th and 21st centuries and to communicate this with a dynamic, contemporary programme to a broad public.
30TH SEPTEMBER 2017
TRANSFORMACE – PEŠÁNEK / DÍAZ
As part of the Architecture Day programme, we presented the history of the former Zenger transformer substation and the story of the kinetic sculptures that were meant to decorate its facade.
Did you know that light-kinetic sculptures by the famous sculptor Zdeněk Pešánek were intended to decorate the facade of the building’s classic modern architecture? Although they were awarded a medal at the international exhibition of art and technology in Paris in 1937 they were never installed on the building, and the objects themselves were not preserved.
Through the project TransFormace the sculptures were finally installed in virtual form projected on the building; the artistic and technological preparation was undertaken by contemporary multimedia artist Federico Diaz, who prepared the project based on models of the statues stored at the National Gallery in Prague. The project was accompanied by a lecture from architecture historian Vendula Hnídková.
We are preparing a rich palette of exhibitions, educational programmes, cultural activities and social events for Kunsthalle Praha visitors. The exhibition programme will address themes relevant to the Czech and international art scenes from the modern era up to the present.
For many years, Kunsthalle Praha has been building a representational collection of Czech and international art from the 20th century to the present day. The collection will provide an important resource for exhibitions, research, publishing and educational projects.
Kunsthalle Praha's research projects will explore new points of view on modern and contemporary art and contextualize Czech art in relation to international trends and events. Our research findings will become the basis for exhibitions, publications and educational programmes.
Several paintings by Prague Academy of Fine Arts graduate Argišt Alaverdyan, from the exhibition New Wave: AVU Graduates 2017 at the National Gallery in Prague, have been selected for the project AVU Graduation Works Collection. The project, supported by The Pudil Family Foundation, aims to build up a sub-collection of Kunsthalle Praha mapping, on a long-term basis, the work of graduates from the Academy of Fine Arts (AVU) as well as other schools, and support the further creative output of selected artists.
A visionary, that's what a creator whose thoughts were ahead of technologies of his time is a posteriori called. Zdeněk Pešánek surely belongs to this category of artists. His light-kinetic sculptures designed for the public space in the 20s and 30s of the previous century were created only at a cost of a complex, tedious and never totally satisfying work. Though to make his multimedia assemblies, Zdeněk Pešánek was using the most innovative elements and materials of the time: celluloid, light bulbs and neons.
The recent acquisition of Giorgio de Chirico’s Forbidden Toys isn’t about some toys left behind by children, but is a work from an early period of the important Italian painter. Thanks to a long-term loan from the bpd partners foundation, this painting will enrich the surrealist part of the Kunsthalle Praha collection, which includes works from artists such as Toyen and Jindřich Štyrský.
Kunsthalle Praha’s visual style, created in cooperation with Studio Najbrt, is based on its own typeface, Kunst, which was inspired by sketches from the typographic genius Jan Tschichold. Typographer Marek Pistora designed the original font, Kunst, for Kunsthalle Praha as an updated version of Tschichold’s original, while referring to roots reaching back to the modern art of the 20th century. The typeface thus connects Kunsthalle Praha’s visual identity with its programmatic focus on the period from modernity up to the present.