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New Realisms Exhibition Unveils Diverse Czechoslovak Interwar Art in Prague

The 'New Realisms' exhibition at the Prague City Gallery offers a fresh look at Czechoslovakia's interwar art, showcasing a diverse array of works.

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Geeta Pillai
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New Realisms Exhibition Unveils Diverse Czechoslovak Interwar Art in Prague

New Realisms Exhibition Unveils Diverse Czechoslovak Interwar Art in Prague

An exhibition titled New Realisms has opened its doors at the Prague City Gallery, casting new light on the visual culture and art of Czechoslovakia during the interwar period. Featuring a unique blend of works by acclaimed artists like Otto Guttfreund and Jan Zrzavý, the exhibit also showcases contributions from German, Slovak, and Hungarian-speaking minority artists, enriching the narrative of Czechoslovakia's artistic heritage.

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A Fresh Perspective on Interwar Art

Curator Ivo Habán elaborates on the concept of New Realism, identifying it as a reflection of the post-World War I era's aspiration for a new and fairer society. This movement, according to Habán, is exemplified in the exhibition by works such as František Muzika's Factory in Vrané, highlighting the era's optimism and innovative spirit. Unlike previous exhibitions, New Realisms adopts a non-traditional approach by focusing on lesser-known artists and emphasizing the diversity within the Czechoslovak art scene, presenting a more inclusive view of its modernist endeavors.

Rediscovering Forgotten Voices

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The exhibition brings to light the contributions of artists representing ethnic minorities and regions often overlooked in mainstream Czech art history. Names like Paul Gebauer, Edmund Gwerk, and Erika Streit, among others, are reintroduced, celebrating their roles in the multifaceted narrative of Czechoslovak modernism. This inclusive approach not only diversifies the understanding of the country's artistic legacy but also revives the stories of those who contributed to its richness from the margins.

Combining Traditional and Modern Media

Featuring over 300 artworks, the New Realisms exhibition stands out for its comprehensive showcase, which includes a broad spectrum of media ranging from traditional paintings and sculptures to photographs and films. The preparation, grounded in research supported by the Czech Science Foundation, involved an international team of researchers and took several years to culminate into this public-friendly display. This blend of media underscores the exhibition's commitment to presenting a holistic view of Czechoslovak interwar art.

The New Realisms exhibition at the Prague City Gallery not only enriches the cultural landscape but also invites a reevaluation of Czechoslovakia's interwar period. By highlighting the diversity and innovation of this era, it encourages a deeper understanding and appreciation of the country's rich artistic heritage.

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