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National Gallery plans Giacometti, Matisse exhibitions

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Prague, Aug 7 (CTK) – The National Gallery (NG) in Prague plans exhibitions of Swiss sculptor Alberto Giacometti (1901-1966) in 2019 and of Henri Matisse (1869-1954), a French pioneer of modern art, in 2020, NG general director Jiri Fajt has told CTK.

Besides, the gallery wants to display works by contemporary British sculptor Anish Kapoor, 63, and Austrian painter Maria Lassnig (1919-2014) as well as Czech post-war artist Mikulas Medek (1926-1974).

Artifacts by German Katharina Grosse, 55, will replace a big installation by Chinese conceptual artist Ai Weiwei, 59, on the NG premises in the Veletrzni Palace during the Grand Opening in the spring.

The exhibition of Lassnig, who has won fame with her self-portraits and whose central theme is the depiction of inner feelings, will start at the same time. Her retrospective in the Albertina gallery in Vienna will end on August 27.

As far as other Czech galleries are concerned, Lassnig’s works are displayed in the gallery in Liberec, north Bohemia, now. It also presents works by famous 20th-century artists at an exhibition entitled Giacometti-Picasso-Chirico.

The NG is to move its 19-century art collections to the Veletrzni Palace in the years to come. They are displayed in the Salm Palace outside Prague Castle until the end of September.

This palace is to be reopened on June 7, 2018. It will house a joint project of the NG and the Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary Viennese foundation that will introduce current trends in visual culture to the public, said Fajt.

The NG is now negotiating about works of art that might be made directly for Prague.

“With Dan Graham, a legend of American minimalism, we are discussing the possibility of his famous pavilion being created for the palace’s courtyard,” Fajt said.

Graham, 75, works with glass and mirrors, creating light structures that might meet even the quite strict requirements by the Prague heritage protectors, Fajt added.

The pavilion could house a workshop of Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson, 50, who often uses light and water in his installations. Fajt said he would like to see Eliasson’s playful waterfall with water running upwards in Prague.

In 2019, the NG will show an exhibition of Giacometti, which is now at the Tate Gallery in London, probably in the Kinsky Palace.

A display of Old Masters will open in the Schwarzenberg Palace in February 2019. This collection will move from the nearby Sternberk palace that will be closed at the end of 2018 due to an overall reconstruction. The displays of Renaissance and Baroque art will be modified in both palaces.

The NG also plans grand exhibitions of drawings by Vaclav Hollar (1607-1677), M. Medek and a strong generation of female artists who were born in the 1920s, such as Eva Kmentova (1928-1980), Adriena Simotova (1926-2014), Kveta Valova (1922-1999) and her sister Jitka Valova (1922-2011) as well as Vera Janouskova (1922-2010) and Alena Kucerova, 82, Fajt said.

The NG is now negotiating with Kapoor. The talks will result in his small or large display in the Gothic St Agnes Convent, Fajt added.

Another artistic highlight might be a Mattise exhibition to be held in Prague in cooperation with the Royal Academy of Art in London in 2020.

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