Veletržní palác has a Grand Opening

The public is invited to the launch of five new exhibits for 2018

Five new exhibits are opening at the National Gallery’s modern art venue at Veletržní palác (Trade Fair Palace). The public is welcome to attend the opening of the 2018 season on Feb. 15 at 7 pm. Admission to the opening is free. At other times, there is an admission fee for the venue.

Two important female artists from Germany and Austria will be featured. Katharina Grosse’s site-specific installation Wunderbild will be in the Big Hall. The first floor will host Marie Lassnig’s extensive retrospective covering 70 years of her career.

“In the first half of the current year, the Trade Fair Palace will feature two major figures of international art. In the autumn, in celebration of Czechoslovakia’s centenary anniversary, we will focus on a newly conceived presentation of the National Gallery’s collections from 1918 to the present. [At] this year’s Grand Opening … in addition to five exhibitions visitors can also enjoy a concert by Katarína Máliková, the rising star of the Slovak alternative scene,” Jiří Fajt, general director of the National Gallery in Prague, said in a press release.

The other three exhibits opening are Moving Image Department #8: Maria Lassnig, Lukáš Karbus; Poetry Passage #6: Radek Brousil, Johan Grimonprez; and Introducing Patricia Dauder: Surface.

Following Ai Weiwei’s Law of the Journey last year, German artist Katharina Grosse’s Wunderbild is the second project made specifically for the venue’s Big Hall.

“For the National Gallery in Prague, Katharina Grosse has created a large-scale, site-specific painterly installation Wunderbild, which radically redefines painting and responds to the space of the Trade Palace’s Big Hall. Since the late 1990s, Grosse has worked almost exclusively with industrial spray guns in lieu of brushes, applying vibrant fields of paint to virtually any available surface,” exhibition curator Adam Budak said. The Prague exhibition will extend to the cafeteria, he added.

Her Wunderbild is described as an architectural painting or a spatial image. The color gains a volume; the flat surface turns sculptural, and the pictorial field crosses the limits of the visual, the National Gallery said in its notes.

The immersive installation is meant to remind viewers of both a medieval mural and a cave drawing. “I’m a painter; I’m interested in the space generated by the painted image and how it can appear in any kind of existing field, be it architecture or the mundane situations of everyday life. For me, painting isn’t restricted to a canvas or a wall,” Grosse said.

The exhibition of works by Austrian artist Maria Lassnig, who was born in 1919 and died in 2014, has been prepared in collaboration with Tate Liverpool. It is the largest exhibition of her work in the Czech Republic, with over 50 large-scale paintings, drawings, and sculptures.

Her work focused on the exploration of the human body and self-presentation. “Maria Lassnig played an influential role in the development of painting in the recent decades. Regarded one of the most important female artists of the 20th century … she was a pioneer of female emancipation in a world of art dominated by men,” curator Budak said.

Lassnig commented on her career in 1996. “I have always striven, even in my youth, for a sort of presence. In my art, which is an art of immersion all the way to the fevers of the nerve fibers and their vibrations, I have conquered the haze of absence,” she said.

The exhibition on the first floor continues with a presentation of Lassnig as an experimental filmmaker within the ongoing series called Moving Image Department. It is complemented by a monumental two-part watercolor painting by Lukáš Karbus, developed in a response to Lassnig’s cinematic oeuvre.

The regular series of contemporary art called Introducing will feature Spanish artist Patricia Dauder with her exhibition Surface. It is described as a poetic elaboration of an image as a complex architecture, composed of layers of memory and meaning.

The “Poetry Passage” in the vestibule of the Trade Fair Palace will host the pictorial poetry by Radek Brousil and a video by the Belgian artist Johan Grimonprez.

The exhibitions each have different closing dates ranging from June 2018 to January 2019.

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