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Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden opens "All Power to the Imagination! Czech Season in Dresden"
Kristof Kintera, My Light is Your Light.

DRESDEN.- On the occasion of the Czech Republic’s presidency of the Council of the European Union in 2022, the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden together with the Deutsch-Tschechischer Zukunftsfonds, in collaboration with various project partners from Germany and the Czech Republic, are holding an arts festival from 24 June to 31 December 2022 under the title “All Power to the Imagination! Czech Season in Dresden”.

Imagination has many facets – it can create utopian dreams, change realities and be anti-authoritarian, subversive or poetic. That is something the French Surrealists recognised even before the Second World War. Their last proponent, the Czech filmmaker, poet and artist Jan Švankmajer (b. 1934, Prague), also understood that the imagination is what defines people. His motto, “All power to the imagination!”, captures the fantasy and lyricism found in the poetics of contemporary Czech artists, rooted in the avant-garde art tradition of the interwar period. It reflects the uniqueness of the artistic techniques of the time, characterized by a strong visual language and an unbridled imagination.

The Czech Season presents young artists and leading figures on the Czech Republic’s contemporary arts scene within the framework of a programme with four areas of focus. Offerings range from exhibitions, theatre productions, film screenings, concerts, readings and artistic performances, to audio tours through (seemingly) well-known SKD collections, and from an interactive museum lab for hybrid art events ( to a cultural chill-out with the Deutsch-Tschechischer Zukunftsfonds.

Focal points of the Czech Season programme:

#1 Relocated – Sculptural installations in public spaces

from 24 June 2022 at Georg-Treu-Platz, Brühlsche Terrasse and other locations

#2 Summer of the Arts – Theatre, readings, discussion, film and music

from 4 August 2022 at the Japanisches Palais, Georg-Treu-Platz and other locations

#3 Oasis of Imagination – German-Czech cultural chill-out

on 20 and 21 August 2022 at Georg-Treu-Platz and other locations

#4 All Power to the Imagination! – Exhibition of contemporary art

from 11 November 2022 at the Kunsthalle in the Lipsiusbau and other locations

The Czech Season opens with “Relocated”, the presentation of contemporary Czech artists in the public space. As from 24 June 2022, the outdoor exhibition invites viewers to discover sculptures and installations at Georg-Treu-Platz, Brühlsche Terrasse and other sites in Dresden’s historical centre. A total of eleven works or groups of works by seven artists are on show. The presentation brings together three generations of contemporary artists from the Czech Republic, who relocate, innovatively layer and transform traditional meanings and artistic practices in their works.

The following seven artists are represented in “Relocated”: Čestmír Suška, František Skála and Michal Gabriel met in the artist group Tvrdohlaví (“The Hardheads”), which emerged in the 1980s out of the greyness of totalitarian daily life in Czechoslovakia and began to conquer the public space with its free-thinking art projects. The group had no uniform artistic language; its strongest bond was the need to react to the ubiquitous aesthetic clichés and intellectual censorship of the epoch. After the fall of the Communist regime, each of them went their own way. Čestmír Suška (b. 1952, Prague) has remained enduringly faithful to the classical techniques of sculpture and transforms, in his work, the seemingly useless waste of the industrial age into art. František Skála (b. 1956, Prague) has attracted great attention with his broad spectrum of artistic activities, encompassing installations and objects created with found elements of nature and civilization, paintings executed in unusual natural pigments, book illustrations in a fairy-tale, fantasy style, and the musical talents he exercises in various ensembles. Michal Gabriel (b. 1960, Prague) is considered a pioneer of new practices with digital technologies, without thereby relinquishing his fascination with the figure as the principle object of his sculptural work.

Milena Dopitová (b. 1963, Šternberk) provocatively places banal motifs drawn from our daily lives into unusual contexts. She thereby tells of the transformation of the city and problems of gentrification and invites us to reflect on the (non)sense of human action. The suggestive work by David Černý (*1967, Prague) takes up major events in Czech-German history: in 1989 Lobkowicz Palais, the seat of the West German embassy in Prague’s Malá Strana district, became a refuge for thousands of GDR citizens. The surrounding streets were filled with hundreds of abandoned Trabant cars as silent witnesses to the indomitable human desire for freedom.

Krištof Kintera (*1973, Prague) is one of the most prominent representatives of the artist generation that is becoming increasingly aware of the limits of the advance of civilization, and which is drawing attention to the incalculable consequences of human activity for our environment. The wastefulness and increasing energy consumption that Kintera thematises in his works are directly contrary to sustainable progress. Jakub Nepraš (*1981, Prague) is concerned with forms and causal relationships of nature in a digital world. In his work, he breaks down complex phenomena of nature, such as communication, memory and even evolution, into their natural processes. In this way the artist shows how connected the worlds of nature and technology are. The objects become the vehicle for animated film messages.

Jiří Fajt, Head of Program and International Affairs at the SKD: “We want to draw attention to the exceptional creative achievements of Czech artists and facilitate encounters between artists and stakeholders on an internationally visible field. We are looking forward to a rich and varied festival programme, one that appeals both to lovers of traditional art-historical themes and to those who enjoy experiencing the experimental creativity of contemporary art. Looking ahead, we see the Czech Season as a new format that we would like to develop further in the coming years, in order to establish cultural encounters between Germany, the Czech Republic, Poland and other Eastern European countries in the spheres of art and culture in Dresden.”

“The fact that this arts festival is able to take place in Dresden is also an expression of the great openness that the city has traditionally shown towards Czech culture, and of the cooperation between Germany and the Czech Republic in terms of the arts that has developed here in manifold ways over the past thirty years. With the Czech Season, this mutual cultural enrichment reaches another new level. All the more reason to transform this diversity into an attractive cultural programme, ranging from performances by Czech cult bands to brand new German-Czech theatre co-productions,” emphasize Petra Ernstberger and Tomáš Jelínek, managing directors of the Deutsch-Tschechischer Zukunftsfonds, which since 1998 has supported some 4,500 joint cultural projects by Germans and Czechs.

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