The Zenger Transformer Station: Electricity in the City, Electricity in Architecture

An evocative story about the role of electricity and modern technology in the development of the Zenger Electrical Substation, as well as in Prague’s history more broadly. Through this exhibition, Kunsthalle Praha pays tribute to the rich history of its building.

You will explore the fascinating history of the original building from the 1930s, designed by architect Vilém Kvasnička who cleverly housed its industrial function within an orderly, rationalist interior while conceiving the building’s exterior as an urban palace, naturally blending in with the historic architecture of Prague’s Lesser Town.

You will also delve deeper into the legacy of Zdeněk Pěšánek, a visionary kinetic artist who designed a cycle of allegorical light-kinetic sculptures for the front facade of the Zenger Electrical Substation between 1932 and 1936, titling the series One Hundred Years of Electricity. These remarkable objects made of industrial materials with inbuilt neon tubes, received a special award at the 1937 World Expo in Paris, but subsequently vanished without trace, thus never making it to the facade of the Substation. Now, they are making a symbolic return to Kunsthalle Praha thanks to a special large-scale projection as part of a multimedia exhibition project.

The author of the exhibition is architectural historian Vendula Hnídková.