Landscape Festival Praha 2015

This year the festival will be held in three locations - Prague 1, Prague 3 and Prague 6

The Prague Landscape Festival has returned for its third year with exhibitions that continue to explore our relationship to public spaces through design, photography, and contemporary art. The project is organized by the Jaroslav Fragner gallery which has specialized in architecture and applied art since its foundation, and is one of only a few galleries in the country that focuses primarily on contemporary architecture. The gallery itself is hosting two exhibitions - Shared Cities the European Prize for Urban Public Space 2014, and A History of the Petr Parléř Prize which is dedicated to promoting cooperation between inhabitants and architects; certainly worth a visit.

In Prague 6 at Vítězné náměstí is the lethargically-spirited Sofa Experience which is on a journey around the world ‘collecting stories from the people it encounters along the way‘. A sixty-metre-long urban sofa constructed of interchangeable wedges, this feels more of a victory for concept over aesthetics and looks like a cross between a chaotic catwalk and the type of stages that new cars are placed on in showroom forecourts. It’s a nice idea that may work well in a grand square but fails to look anything but out of place here.

Much more impressive are the exhibitions at the disused Žižkov freight station. There are several exhibitors here including one looking at the revitalization of Prague 3 and another by the students of UMPRUM. The location alone demands a visit, especially if industrial architecture is your thing, but the juxtaposition of the exhibits breathes a new life into a derelict building. I’ve often felt that Prague chooses to ignore its industrial heritage but this festival embraces the truly urban and tells us not to overlook it. A city can’t simply be a combination of classic and modern, it needs to acknowledge its uglier, grimy, workmanlike elements. By utilizing this venue it illustrates that point very well.

The Sofa Experience - Vítězné náměstí, Prague 6
Jaroslav Fragner Gallery - Betlémské náměstí 5a, Prague 1
Žižkov Freight Station - Jana Želivského 2, Prague 3

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