After Velvet – Post-1989 Art from the Pro arte Portfolio

21 September - 30 November 2016

In addition to producing a general sense of national euphoria, the events of November 1989 also resulted in great expectations on the Czechoslovak art scene. The establishment of new galleries in Prague helped create a more agile platform for artistic activity. In a refreshing change of pace, the quality and authenticity of expression of works by local artists were once again confronted with international developments. This exhibition therefore aims to explore movements which started gaining ground in the Czech milieu in the early 1990s. In addition to late postmodernism, these included various conceptual approaches as well as a return to traditional painting. Some of the exhibited works come from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts Prague collection, with drawings by e.g. Olga Karlíková personally selected for long-term loan purposes by president Václav Havel.

The exhibition includes pieces by members of the older generation, including by the legendary Adriena Šimotová (1926–2014), Dalibor Chatrný (1925–2012) and Olga Karlíková (1923–2014). While their distinctive styles began to develop in the 1970s, their creative output acquired a markedly different dynamic after 1989. On the other hand, the works of Jan Merta (*1952), František Skála (*1956) and Tomáš Císařovský (*1962) are based on an altogether different premise. The postmodern experimentation and choice of metaphors, symbols and conceptual signs in their works continues to inspire despite their newly attained status of sought-after classics.

As for the younger generation, there is close affinity between Josef Bolf (*1971) and Ján Mančuška (1972–2011), who are internationally regarded as two of the most original Czech artists of their generation. While the paintings of Michal Pěchouček (*1973) and Václav Girsa (*1969) embody new approaches to the classical painting, the conceptual works of Jiří Černický (*1966) and Krištof Kintera (*1973) examine the distinctive possibilities of humour in fine arts.

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