Taking A Different Artistic Path: Section d'Or is in Prague

Exhibition runs till Jan 9, at Museum Kampa, Prague 1

Art experienced a revolution in the beginning of the 20th century. Parisian-based painters, sculptors, and poets who were neighbors sharing a common garden in the suburb of Puteaux were known as the Section d’Or or Groupe de Puteaux. Formed in the studio of Jacques Villon, in 1911, they transformed the principles of art, helping to bring Cubism and Orphism to the center of attention. After over 100 years the works of certain artists from this group, like Marcel Duchamp and František Kupka still amaze, surprise and provoke.

The Museum Kampa in Prague brings many of these artists to the Czech Republic for the first time in its exhibit “Neighbors in Art” with works on loan from the Paris National Museum of Art - Center Pompidou.

The exhibition displays around 60 art pieces, including works by Marcel Duchamp and his two brothers Raymond Duchamp-Villon, and Jacques Villon, as well as others including Albert Gleizes, Franz Léger, and Jean Metzinger.

Duchamp, who exhibited his revolutionary urinal (entitled “Fountain”) 100 years ago, is also famous for his bicycle wheel readymade, which is considered to be the first kinetic sculpture. This exhibit, however, presents earlier works of Duchamp, figurative paintings, appearing to be alive and willing to break out of the frame, as well as sketches and figural drawings, while simple at first glance, cause viewers to examine them for a long time due to their originality.

The works of these artists collected together for this exhibition emphasize the development of abstract art, a sensation of colors, and experiments with symmetry and lines for highlighting geometric forms. Jacques Villon’s playing with colors and shapes in his abstract works shows best the principles of Cubism, and the sculptures of his brother, Raymond Duchamp-Villon, show this dynamic motion with the use of diagonals and directional lines.

A large part of the exhibition is devoted to paintings and drawings by František Kupka, the most important Czech painter of the 20th century. Museum Kampa houses an important collection of Kupka’s works, with 215 studies, drawings, and paintings. Though Kupka lived most of his life in France he still maintained a close and constant contact with the Prague environment. His artistic expression plays a very important role in Modern art, and this exhibition includes his paintings, Plains Blue and Red, and his famous Amorpha - Warm Chromatic, first exhibited in 1912 in the Salon d'Automne in Paris.

In the framework of the exhibition, Museum Kampa also presents the model of The Cubist House for the first time in Prague. The famous architectural installation was designed by Raymond Duchamp-Villon with the help of other artists of Section d'Or for the 1912 exhibition in the Salon d'Automne; it significantly introduces the Cubist vision of architecture and design.

The exhibition finally includes photographs of the artists, their exhibition posters, and selected pages from periodicals of the era which reveal more about their art concepts and ideas. While these artists worked in different genres and directions, they were united by a certain idea and by their concepts, to transform the principles of art at that time. These pioneering Modernists still have an influence on Contemporary art in our times.

The exhibit Neighbors in Art runs till Jan. 9, 2018.

Museum Kampa
U Sovových mlýnů 2
Praha 1 – Malá Strana
Open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Picture Gallery

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