Electricity and the various technologies based on it have been transforming artistic practice for more than a hundred years now. The former function of Kunsthalle Praha's building, Zenger Electrical Substation, inspired the theme of our inaugural exhibition.
Kinetismus: 100 Years of Electricity in Art
22/2 – 29/8 2022
Concept & Curator: Peter Weibel
Co-curator: Christelle Havranek
Scientific Associate: Lívia Nolasco-Rózsás
Catalogue & Exhibition Graphic Design: Studio Najbrt
The scope of Kinetismus: 100 Years of Electricity in Art spans the early artistic use of motorised movement and artificial light through to advanced computational models, information technology, and digital art. Exploring how electricity has transformed artistic practice from the start of the 20th century to the present day, four key areas are presented: cinematography, kinetic art, cybernetic art, and computer art.
The exhibition will feature over ninety works of art by several generations of artists from all over the world, including independent figures and members of emblematic groups such as Bauhaus, GRAV, Dvizhenie, ZERO, and teamLab. The show will include the work of pioneers such as Mary Ellen Bute, Zdeněk Pešánek, László Moholy-Nagy and Marcel Duchamp; established names such as Julio Le Parc, Yaacov Agam, Woody and Steina Vašulka, François Morellet, Adéla Matasová, William Kentridge; and representatives from younger generations such as Refik Anadol, Žilvinas Kempinas, Shilpa Gupta, Olafur Eliasson, Michael Bielický & Kamila B. Richter.
Explore the exhibition with our digital guide!
Navigate around the key artworks with thematic routes and listen to audio, either from the comfort of your home or right in the Kunsthalle:
The exhibition is also a nod to Czech avant-garde artist and pioneer of kinetic art Zdeněk Pešánek who created a series of allegorical kinetic light sculptures titled 100 Years of Electricity for the façade of the Zenger substation in 1936. The exhibition title also refers to his seminal book Kinetismus which discusses the possibilities offered by the integration of motorised movement and artificial light in art.
Folowing Pešánek’s legacy, this project offers a new model of the evolution of the visual arts in which cinematography leads to kinetic art, followed by cybernetic and computer art, thus revealing the link between moving machines and moving images: electricity.
The exhibition has been conceived by guest curator Peter Weibel (theoretician, artist and director of the ZKM l Center for Art and Media in Karlsruhe, Germany), alongside co-curators Christelle Havranek (Chief curator at Kunsthalle Praha) and Lívia Nolasco-Rózsás (scientific associate and curator) and has benefited from important loans from private lenders and major institutions including ZKM (Germany), Tate (UK) and Centre Pompidou (France).
A richly illustrated catalogue published by Hatje Cantz and Kunsthalle Praha features contributions by the curatorial team and many other relevant authors, and a timeline tracing the milestones of technological, theoretical, and artistic developments brought about by electricity from the 1920s to the present day.
The exhibition will feature interactive activities designed for visitors of all ages including a nine-metre Art Wall offering the unique experience of creating one’s own work. The Art Wall is dedicated to ‘light graffiti’, which thanks to an interactive console will allow drawing with light and creating large-format works. Moreover, children together with adults can enjoy the playful space of Kidshalle and unleash their creative potential. There will be a digital guide introduced, offering two thematic routes through the exhibition that highlight different categories and artworks.
Digital Guide for Kinetismus
A conversation with Peter Wiebel (ZKM)
List of Artists
László Zsolt Bordos
Mary Ellen Bute
Cerith Wyn Evans
Frank Joseph Malina
Julio Le Parc
Kamila B. Richter
Konrad Balder Schäuffelen
Nikolas Schmid Pfähler
Lillian F. Schwartz
Paul J. Sharits
List of Lenders
Atelier Prof. Heinz Mack
BFI National Archive
Michael Bielický & Kamila B. Richter
Center for Visual Music
Collection of Márton Orosz
Collection of Stanford University
Cruz-Diez Art Foundation
Galerie Denise René
Galerie Klatovy / Klenová
Hrvatski film savez
Govett-Brewster Art Gallery / Len Lye
Andrea & Lev Kowalski
Marek, Maciej, & Marcin Pawłowski
Milan Dobeš Museum
Moderna galerija + Muzej sodobne umetnosti
Národní filmový archiv Praha
Národní galerie Praha
Pace Gallery New York
Refik Anadol Studio
Christa Sommerer & Laurent Mignonneau
Staatlichen Schlösser, Gärten und Kunstsammlungen Mecklenburg-Vorpommern
Studio Brigitte Kowanz
Szépművészeti Múzeum Budapest
The Henry Ford
Vašulka Kitchen Brno
Yaacov Agam Museum of Art
ZKM | Zentrum für Kunst und Medien