Wednesday, 26 September 2018

Cultural events to mark Czechoslovak centenary

8 January 2018

Prague, Jan 7 (CTK) - Most Czech state cultural institutions are preparing events and projects marking this year's centenary of the birth of Czechoslovakia, with a a joint Czech-Slovak exhibition to be a crucial project of the celebrations whose total costs are to cross 400 million crowns.

In 2017, the cabinet spent almost 90 million crowns on the preparation of events marking the centenary and other important anniversaries falling on 2018. It plans to earmark further 322 million for this purpose this year. The highest sum, 180 million crowns, will go to the Culture Ministry.

The Czech guarantor of the planned Czech-Slovak exhibition is the Prague-seated National Museum (NM), which will host the exhibition following its premiere at the Bratislava Castle.

The NM will open the exhibition on October 28, the day Czechoslovakia was established in 1918, simultaneously with re-opening the NM historical building after a reconstruction.

The exhibition will show the 20th-century events reflected by the life of the Czech and Slovak nations, and their complex mutual relationship.

About 170 events are planned to mark the historical milestones of 1918, 1968 (the Prague Spring communist reform movement and its crushing by Soviet-led military invasion of Czechoslovakia) and 1993 (split of Czechoslovakia into two independent states).

Most of the projects, 66, are being prepared by state-subsidised organisations falling under the Culture Ministry, its spokeswoman Simona Cigankova said.

The National Gallery (NG) will mark the anniversaries by means of special exhibitions but mainly by its newly arranged permanent exhibitions of modern and post-war arts in the Veletrzni palace in Prague.

One of them will highlight the art of the First Czechoslovak Republic (1918-1938), including art centres outside the capital Prague, such as Slovak and Ukrainian.

An exhibition "1968: With a Human Face!!!" will focus on visual culture and artistic experiments of the 1950s-1980s.

Prague's Museum of Decorative Arts (UPM) will mark the 50th victory of the 1968 events with an exhibition of photographs by Josef Koudelka, including his cycle Invasion of 1968, which shows the occupation of Czechoslovakia by Warsaw Pact troops and which he secretly took abroad to acquaint the world with the Czechoslovak events.

Prague Castle, the seat of Czechoslovak and now Czech presidents, will open several exhibitions focusing mainly on the centenary of Czechoslovakia.

Later this month a display of the Czech coronation jewels is planned, preceded by the display of rare historical documents.

The Imperial Stables exhibition room at Prague Castle will present the thousand-year history of forming the Czech state.

The largest exhibition, Touches of Statehood, will open in Prague Castle's Riding School, highlighting developments in the country under its individual presidents.

Projects marking this year's anniversaries are also planned by galleries and museums outside Prague, such as the Moravian Gallery in Brno, the Moravian Land Museum and the Museum of Arts in Olomouc, whose exhibition will bear the name Birth of Contemporary Central European 1908-1928 and show the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy and its impact on the lives of its inhabitants and on arts.

Private institutions, too, are planning projects of their own. Prague's DOX Centrum is planning an exhibition History as a Fiction, which should trigger a debate on how reconstructions of historical events by narrators influence people's awareness of their nation's history and identity.

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