HOME Girls

A new gallery stops the bleeding.

HOME Gallery

Truhlářská 8 in P1

Open 12pm – 8pm Wednesday – Sunday

Finding vibrant new art by local or international artists in this town has never
been easy, and with the recent closures of the MXM and pála Galleries, it appeared
for a moment that Prague would drop off the map of contemporary art entirely.
Enter center stage from nowhere, HOME Gallery – a new space for contemporary art
on Truhlářská street in Staré město. With 200 meters of soaring wall space and
a ceiling full of skylights, HOME provides a significantly brighter, better atmosphere
than the odd, dark curviness of MXM or the cramped awkwardness of Jelení.

“I was tired of waiting for things to change,” says Veronika Drahotová, leader
of the experienced and talented team of three women artists and professionals
launching the project. “We felt we had to break away from a collapsing system
where nobody was doing anything.” So the trio – which also includes Veronica Broumová,
multimedia artist and head instructor of the New Media II studio at Prague’s Academy
of Fine Arts, and Aleksandra Vajd, Slovenian photographer and lecturer – pooled
funds, struck a good deal with the owner of the space and, most importantly, came
up with some ideas set to break the stagnant mold of the Prague gallery scene.

Plans include something called HOMEnet: an international network of like-minded
galleries that will organize and trade exhibitions composed of artists from around
the world into tours that could last up to three years.

“In the past, Czech art had to be sold as a package deal,” Drahotová explains.
“A group exhibition composed solely of Czech artists would be offered and rejected.
This is a complicated business. Our idea is to get Czech artists out there and
break out of the box we find ourselves in. At the same time, we want to bring
artists from elsewhere into this country and create a more fluid environment that
will positively influence the artists and the city.”

Representing artists and showing their work at international fairs will be another
priority of the gallery – a brave undertaking in a country that many perceive
as lacking a vibrant art market. Currently, the only successful private gallery
representing artists abroad is the Jiří vestka Gallery. All others are at least
partly dependent on the state, a condition Broumová says has a deadening effect
on the arts.

“What we have here are hybrid galleries, unable to define themselves as state
or private, unable to make a profit as they continue to nurse from the tit of
the state while aspiring to be a private gallery that turns a profit.”

HOME’s position will also be a step away from the underground projects as they
have existed in the past. Notable examples include NoD Gallery and Gallery Display,
neither of which have earned credibility on the international market and thus
remain little more than novelties. Drahotova points out that at least part of
the problem is the air of defeatism that has settled over the art scene, with
few people willing to start something new.

“What was open at the beginning of the ‘90s is not so open now,” Broumová argues.
“There is a bad feeling here, and we would like to work against this.” And, at
least for Broumová, there is something more: “It’s the space that inspires me.
And the time is different now; it’s no longer possible to sit in your apartment
and do your work. It’s a change of mind, when you stop working for yourself and
begin working for others.”

HOME is currently planning to host seven shows a year, mixing in seminars, movie
nights, special events and other activities. The Slovenian art group IRWIN opened
the space on December 12 with a collection of photography that will run until
the beginning of January.

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