NOVEMBER 23, 2010
PKN Prague Celebrates Vol. 20
We'd like to congratulate the organizers of PechaKucha Night in Prague for reaching the momentous -- in PKN numerology at least -- Vol. 20! The event happens tomorrow night (November 24) at Aero Cinema, and we truly hope that it's the best one yet. Expect to see some photos from the event here within a week or so.
DECEMBER 22, 2009
PKN Prague Vol. 15
The last PechaKucha Night in Prague for 2009 was held just over a month ago (Vol. 15), and in this post we take a look at a few of the presenters, highlighted by PKN Prague organizer Jana Kostelecka, and including a few comments. The next edition (Vol. 16) is already set to happen on February 17.
Pavel Brazda: He is 83 this year, and he is just amazing! His first exhibition took place in 1990, after our Velvet Revolution, and he became one of the most innovative and progressive painters in our country.
Petr Nedoma: He is the director of the most important gallery in Prague, Rudolfinum, and he's the one who made it to the most important gallery in Prague. Five months ago, it seemed like it was going to be the end of the gallery as the management of the institution had changed and the new one arrived at the conclusion that the gallery would be better off without the old director (but without any clear reasons). Demomstrations are not so common in our country, and that's why it was quite surprising and positive to see that the professionals stood up to support their professional partner, colleague and sometimes even competition and... he is back!!!
Stanislav Komarek: We were lucky to invite this scientist for the first time. He is a biologist. He lectures on the aesthetics of nature, and he was humorous.
Michaela Kukovic: She loves collages and she makes illustrated books.
Vallo Sadovsky Architects: One of the most interesting projects which was presented at the last PechaKucha Night Prague was definitely their "City Interventions." They have done it in Bratislava and they work on introducing its Prague mutation.
MAY 26, 2009
PKN Prague Vol. 12
We always get very interesting reports from Prague, and the latest one, for PechaKucha Night Vol. 12, certainly follows that trend. That city's organizer Jana Kostelecka sent us the following, written by Adam Gebrian.
April 16th 2009, PechaKucha Night in Prague, volume 12, overcrowded as usual -- I would have never believed you could regularly fit more than 370 people inside a cinema with a maximum capacity of 336 (don’t tell the authorities, especially the fire-brigade control). As usual, we have seen 14 presentations, every single one very funny -- a bit too much for my own taste, but that could have been influenced by the fact that I came to see PKNP directly from a funeral of a friend. But a few questions have been omnipresent: What is more important, content or form? Could you be boring but good? Should you try to be funny, especially when the others are, and the audience is having good time? How hard is it not to please the public? Should you try to react to your colleague’s presentations which precede you? (My personal advice: No!)
A few days afterwards, I clearly remember 6 of the 14 presentations (a sign of certain quality). Here they are:
Will You Buy our Catalogue?
The famous artistic trio, which have single-handedly established political art in Czech Republic with their year 2000 exhibition ”Malík urvi” (first three slides), with 36 portraits of successful public figures and politicians -- accidentally, also important persons during the communist regime. Personally, I always prefer presentations from one single person (if you make a mistake, there is no one to help you out, and that takes a certain courage), but this trio was perfect. Well balanced sense of humour, with precise formulations, and a serious effort to sell their recently published catalogue.
Outer Space Technology for a Village Restaurant
Michal Kutálek (Next Level studio)
Young architect, started by showing his visions for new livable complexes in outer space using advanced computer technologies (he has been awarded several prizes for his efforts), but it took just eight slides, and we have been inside of small interiors in his hometown (Staré Město) in South Moravia, a “city” of 8000 inhabitants. We are in a small regular room (still under construction) created in the traditional way (bricks and stones of different sizes and colours). Does it mean he has forgotten his vision and complex shapes? No, not by chance. On the other hand, he has been able to realize the first parametric design in Czech Republic. Interior of a bar with restaurant. Next nine slides are here to prove it. Slick white ceilings, strange wall colours, design chairs. And the biggest surprise is still yet to come. Picture no. 18. The exterior of the bar. You have hardly seen something more traditional than this. You suddenly realize the challenge of building this -- in here. It would have been difficult to do it in our capital, Prague, but in this village? Insane. Good luck with other projects.
Mystification or even Better?
The end of the first half is always important. If it’s not good, it can destroy all previous presentations. But this was clearly not the case for the duo kunstWerk. It’s hard to understand if we are attending clever mystification, or even more clever reality. The punch line is coming from Joseph Beuys -- “every man is an artist” -- and the next 19 slides are here to prove it. Showing the work of an unknown person. Weird common life objects, but all of them with certain beauty, poetics. Except one, perfectly commented: “Just one time in his life, he strived to be an artist, by creating this piece (picture no. 15) -- metal flower out of used beer bottle caps. It’s precisely the moment when he stopped being an artist.” The ending is well prepared: “Is it possible to be an artist and not know about it?” Of course. But here is a bigger question: “Is it possible to be an artist and not know about it?” That’s a tough one.
Kill the Format
I don’t like attempts at destroying the 20x20 format (numbering pages, showing almost the same picture twice, animation gifs, etc.), but this time it worked out. Every next slide had been placed over the previous one, without covering it entirely. Very nice idea, and so was the work of Adéla Svobodová (film festival posters, book covers, art installations, drawings).
The Surprise of the Night
The giant square in the sea, fallen tree struck by lightning, giant art installations, artificial ocean instead of gallery ceiling -- so you enter inside and find yourself underneath sea level (made by styrodur), part of the biggest war cannon ever made, “destroyed” gallery. “I have left just two spaces, one to get in, and the other one to get out. Hah, hah.” Some of the works are older than twenty years. Who the hell is this guy? The leader of monumental work studio at Art Academy in Prague? I loved it.
The Best at Last
The ending of the night is even more important than the ending of the first half. It can make the evening, or not. For the first time during my five visits, it didn’t end well. So I am not going to write about the real ending, but will pick up my own choice:
The always young (45 years :))) provocative rebel without cause, the author of the art A-bomb of the year, "Entropa" -- fictitious collaboration of 27 young European artists (made just by himself), which still represents the presidency of Czech Republic over EU in Brussels. This time, he showed us a less known part of his personality. Perfectly prepared, precise, showing not only his beautiful unrealized projects, but also his brain-child, "Meet factory," a place for exhibitions, cultural projects, meetings, discussions, and presentations. It was the paramount of the evening, without a doubt. Within the context of the night, he seemed to be the most adult, conservative (this is meant positively!), and wise-cracking. The unrealized giant red skull inside the market hall (pictures 3 and 4) might prove me wrong, but I still mean it. 19 slides of his own work, and then the message to everybody in the audience: Fuck the Czech Communist Party! Big applause.
The next PKNP will happen on the 18th of June, and I am going to be there.
APRIL 02, 2009
PKN Prague Vol. 11
For a look at the previous PechaKucha Night in Prague (Vol. 11), we try something a bit different, starting with a bit of a dialogue, written by organizer Jana Kostelecka. Take note that PKN Prague Vol. 12 will be held on April 16.
A: Eleventh, it feels like going home from the first one was only yesterday.
B: Yes, but yesterday wasn't a summer's eve.
A: Hmm... but the amazement is exactly the same.
B: Which was your favourite then?
A: I loved Čestmír Suška's ability of seeing the most fragile beauty in the steel industrial waste, it was like multi-tonne easter eggs.
B: When you look at the Zdeněk Ziegler posters where the fonts were hand-painted and collaged, one regrets that globalization moved on and that posters always come in one package with the films these days. You can hardly make an exhibition of the posters to one film these days. CTRL-C CTRL-V.
A: I dreamed of fantasy worlds. Jakub Dvorský (Amanita Design). You live in a universe of the stub floating in the timeless space, inhabited with curious creatures and rockets made of cans of Kostelecke parky (sausages). Have you ever tried their game?
…and the other chronicler of the insubstantial senses -- Alžběta Skálová. I wish I was a kid again, I remember my favourite illustrations were in the book Alice in Wonderland, but it was nothing like this. When we were small, there were too little books of unreal worlds and its inhabitants…
…they came alive in the wicked pupetery of Martina Černá and Anna Issa Šotolová (Imagery). The rabbit-chicken teddy bear was kind of scary-funny. Moving down the rabbit hole.
B: Then you have the too dark painters, the dark horor of gypsy folk songs in Ladislava Gažiová paintings and Vladimír Skrepl, the first AEROnaut.
A: I fancied the book by Magdalena Kalistová on the green home. Only, the form does not correspond with the sense, so can there ever be beauty in green? And what about the architects?
B: I am excited when I see people care about the landscape and public spaces, and restrain their greed for more in the means of expanding, in lieu of the quality of space. In this light, the A.LT work in Poznan is excellent. Jan Jehlík put his ideas on urbanism clear -- and it's not every day that you see a hand-painted presentation.
A: I liked the simple garden resturant in the ZOO by FAM Architekti.
B: Did you notice that the product designers at PechaKucha do toys? Are you seeing any connection between Jana's Zacharias or are they simply adorable. Adorable. HuberoKororo does a Dino Rocking Horse which reminded me of my blow-up buffalo of old.
A: If I had studied hard, I would have been as knowledgeable as Jan H. Vitvar, and possibly would get the track of what Richard Loskot was doing with all the wiring.
B: When is the next one?
Čestmír Suška (sculptor)
Čestmír Suška is working with steel and iron industrial waste, transforming its weighty substance into something airy, cutting out the borders of the space and letting the light in. He creates a possibility of meeting Richard Serra and Daniel Pirsc.
Alžběta Skálová (illustrator and graphic designer)
Alžběta Skálová is creating ethereal records of her feelings in dapples of pure colour which are comming alive. She is keyholing the soul and candidly letting it out. From the illustrations, you can smell the sea and hear the giggle of the creatures from the kitchen drawer, who wake up in the middle of the night. Alžběta is tightly collaborating with the children book publisher Baobab.
Zdeněk Ziegler (graphic designer and typographer)
Zdeněk Ziegler is best known for his film posters, of which he has created 274 between 1963 and 1989. It was the golden age of collage and hand-painted fonts. Imagine creating a poster to, say, Hitchcock's Birds, and having one smuggled in, magazine and a pencil in your hand. We are deep in the communist times, and the censorship is almighty. And still, you create super-temporal works. It can be thanks to the lack of readymade culture, and the almighty promotion of the film industry.
Jakub Dvorský of Amanita Design (flash games, website, and vision designer)
Amanita Design creates games from some kind of past universe, where you come accross the remains of a human civilisation grown back in nature. It creates a kind and snuggy world, floating in peace. You wake up into a dream with eyes wide open, and you can even meddle with its goings. It works in the most unpredictable and radiant way.