Irene Carpintero visits Holešovice's weird and wonderful contemporary art center

DOX is a private initiative inspired by the idea that Prague deserves a place on the map of the international contemporary art world.

Occupying a complex of buildings in the Holešovice district, its mission is to exhibit contemporary art related to current issues and to provide a forum for people with an interest in the Czech scene.

The name DOX derives from the Greek words "doxa" (opinion, glory, belief, way of seeing, reputation) and "paradoxon" (paradox) and refers to the way contemporary art tries to break down barriers, as well as to the nearby docks and the surrounding district's industrial heritage.

DOX opened its doors in October 2008, after five years of preparations, and, in its first year, has presented major international exhibitions and many smaller projects.

Occupying a space of several thousand square meters, the DOX complex has been praised by critics for its adaptation of an industrial space.

Architect Ivan Kroupa, who won the Berlin Forderungspreis Baukunst award in 2001, has combined the existing buildings with new structures, creating a complex that links the site's industrial past and its new function.

The size and layout of the buildings allows a great degree of flexibility, which is useful given the wildly varying scales of contemporary art pieces.

The building is included in the Phaidon Atlas of 21st Century World Architecture and was nominated for the prestigious Mies van der Rohe prize.

DOX is divided into four sections: the front building, which incorporates a large hall and a sculpture terrace; the courtyard; the tower; and the back building.

At the time of my visit, the sculpture terrace was housing fin 193 m n. m., an Alena Kotzmannová artwork depicting a boat.

In the courtyard, David Černý's Entropa was the main attraction.

Created to mark the Czech Republic's European Union presidency, and originally displayed in Brussels, the sculpture provocatively addresses stereotypes related to each EU member.

Belgium, for example, is presented as a half-eaten box of chocolates, Sweden is represented by a large IKEA-style flat-pack box and the United Kingdom, known for its Euroskepticism is "included" only as an empty space.

The Czech Republic's own section of Entropa is an LED display that flashes controversial quotations from Czech President Václav Klaus.

Inside the tower, there are four floors displaying a range of different artworks.

Currently, this space houses the finalists for this year's Jindřich Chalupecký Award (Cena Jindřicha Chalupeckého), among them a Petra Herotová exhibition inspired by meeting a woman of the same name, Jiři Franta & David Böhm's 58let (58 years) wall drawings, and several video installations.

The most interesting of these shows two actors reading the a photograph in the form of binary code, replacing zero with "no" and one with "yes."

In the back building are galleries used for temporary exhibitions, plus a café, an international bookstore, and a shop showcasing the work of top Czech designers.

DOX Centrum současného umění
(DOX Center for Contemporary Art)
Osadní 34, Prague 7-Holešovice
Metro: Vltavská (line C)
Tram: Ortenovo náměstí
Bus: Jankovcova

Adults: 180 CZK
Students/Children Over 12/Seniors: 90 CZK
Family Ticket (Two Adults + Two Children): 300 CZK
School Groups: 60 CZK Each (Teacher + At Least 15 Children) Children Under 12: Free

Monday: 10am-6pm
Tuesday: Closed
Wednesday: 11am-7pm
Thursday: 11am-7pm
Friday: 11am-7pm
Saturday: 10am-6pm
Sunday: 10am-6pm

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