Modern sculptures fill Prague's streets

The fourth year of Sculpture Line has also expanded across the country

The annual Sculpture Line festival starts June 12 and will place almost 50 installations by 25 artists in 14 cities in three countries. It will run until Sept. 30 with sculptures in streets, squares, parks and other spaces. This year, there will also be a gallery space.

“We will introduce larger sculptures from selected artists in Mánes in Prague, whose sculptures can also be seen in open air expositions,” festival director Ondřej Škarka said. The gallery exhibition will run June 15–29, and then go to other cities.

The purpose of the exhibition is to enhance and enrich the public space, to offer a new look to cities and to the works of art, both for the inhabitants and for the visitors.

This is the fourth year. For the first two, it was only in Prague and then last year in Prague and Plzeň.

The festival will take place this year in Prague, Plzeň, Brno, Ostrava, Olomouc, Pardubice, Jablonec nad Nisou, Liberec, Vratislavice, Broumov, Trutnov and Zlín. Works by Czech artists will also be sent to Luxembourg and Germany.

The artworks are not just in the main areas of towns. “We try not to focus only on the center, but we also look for picturesque corners and spaces outside the main arteries. We have been traveling around the city for months now, and in close cooperation with town halls and local people, and we are going through interesting places. I believe that when we are done, some of our stops and their stories will surprise the long-time natives,” Škarka said.

The works in the Sculpture Line festival and the Mánes were selected by Michal Gabriel, a sculptor from the Tvrdohlavý (Hard Head) generation and the head of a sculptural studio at the Faculty of Fine Arts of the Brno University of Technology, curator Martin Dostál and Sculpture Line director Ondřej Škarka.

Manes Gallery was chosen because it is celebrating an anniversary. It was established in 1928 with the financial support of President Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk.

Throughout Prague, there will be about 17 sculptures by 14 Czech and foreign artists.

One of the city's busiest streets, Na Příkopě, has a steel piece by Jörg Plickat called Remembrance of a Desire. It consists of a triangle and a part of a circle.

There are two entries at náměstí Republiky. Valse, also by Jörg Plickat, is an attempt to capture a waltz by Chopin in steel. At the same square in front of Kotva department store is Estonian artist Inga Aru's Muse of Industry I–II, a pair of brightly colored abstract figures.

A short walk from there on Na Poříčí is Capsule by Tomáš Medek. He uses modern 3D technology to create his works.At the New Town Hall there will be One of the Big Heads by Kurt Geabauer, who has been making them since the 1970s.

There will be works at the Dancing House and náměstí Václava Havla, next to the National Theatre, as well.

Some works are outside the center. Michal Gabriel will have one of his own works on display. A group of bronze figures called Players is at Bastion, a rather hidden place at the remnants of the city walls at the edge of Prague's New Town. The figures are based on sculptures made from 150-year-old oak trees.

Throne by Antonín Kašpar is at Vyšehrad, home of the earliest Czech royalty. The large chair is topped with a cross and has three questions on it.

Even further afield is Abre by Iva Mrázková, deep in Prague 4. The image of a tall tree is reaching for the sunlight. The same artist has a piece called Feminité in front of the Ministry of Culture.

Another far-flung piece is the Blue Spot Obsession by Jan Kovářík, located in Prosek. He uses recycled items to create an abstract shape.

There are more pieces to be discovered. As the name of the exhibition implies, they are in a line, more like a loop, and can be seen one after the other on an admittedly long walk.

The other cities on the list have fewer sculptures, but are worth checking out if you are in the area on a day trip.

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