“Visit two different art galleries. How do they compare?”
I was incredibly lucky to be in Prague when two of my favourite artists had an exhibition on: The ‘Galerie Rudolfinum’ was showing ‘The Blind Leading The Blind’ by Jake and Dinos Chapman which I didn’t even know about until we went into the city centre on the first day of our trip. Their work is very contemporary and what I love about a lot of art… it is provocative and controversial. It contains a lot of black humour and some quite disturbing themes however it is also often visually pleasing as well.
At the entrance to the exhibition, there was a room with a large screen showing an interview with each of the brothers and then another with the brothers discussing their work together. I really enjoyed these videos as it is not often that you get the artists’ intentions and opinions surrounding their work.
One of the main themes of the exhibition is the combination of “child-like naivete” and “cruelty with a profound intellectual depth”. This is evident in their piece ‘Zygotic Acceleration’ which is a sculpture made up of nude mannequins of young female children, with crude additions to their faces. Also, their sketches are almost child-like style drawings but depict disturbing and often violent scenes. This juxtaposition is a constant throughout much of their work.
The final piece as you walked through the gallery was the piece titled ‘Fucking Hell’. This is a miniature model of the Chapman Brothers’ idea of hell. It is a very intricate piece, containing hundreds of tiny figures; each created uniquely and individually, and each alluding to some inhumane or sinful, idea or action.
Overall, I really enjoyed my visit to this exhibition, however the only issue I had with it was not with the exhibition itself, but with the setting of it. The ‘Galerie Rudolfinum’ is a beautiful gallery but I couldn’t help but think that it was maybe to old and grand to house such a contemporary exhibition. Despite this, I would definitely recommend anyone who gets a chance to try and see this exhibition.
Another gallery I visited was the DOX Centre for Contemporary Art. At the time we visited, ‘Where is my Home?’ was the main exhibition. This was a project in which there was an open call for artists to submit their work if they felt it related to different concepts and interpretations of the word ‘home’. This relates to the opening line of the Czech national anthem as the words are exactly “where is my home?”. Within society today, the definition of the word ‘home’ is becoming looser and looser. This exhibition contained various different pieces by artists conforming to the traditional definition of a ‘home’ and also pieces by artists who questioned the ideals and characteristics of a ‘home’.
This was one of my favourite pieces in the exhibition. It was the entire contents of a 20-something year old male’s house and was intended to show how many people collect things as they grow up and end up with a definitive collection of staple items. I really liked the idea that it also brought up the question of whether it is the structure or contents that makes up a ‘home’.
I’m not really sure what the idea behind these photographs was, however I did think that they were beautiful images.
The journey to the gallery was also really interesting as the whole area seemed to be covered in street art, some commissioned by the gallery as advertising and promotion, and others just street artists wanting to leave their mark where they assume art enthusiasts will see it.
I would definitely recommend visiting the DOX gallery as well. It is an amazing space to showcase contemporary art and also has an amazing library of books and one of the best gallery shops I have ever visited. I could have spent my entire holiday budget in there alone but limited myself to a poster of a map of public art in Prague from the 70s and 80s.