Opening 22 September at 5 p.m.
This exhibition sets out to present the artistic depiction of work and labour – starting with the glory years of this theme, then tracing its subsequent degradation, followed by a period in which it was marginalized and neglected, and finally its gradual re-emergence on the art scene. The exhibition will not offer a nostalgic vision of work; it will instead seek to rehabilitate the notion of work as an artistic theme, offering a critical evaluation of it and presenting it (to both experts and non-experts) as a topic that has some form of relevance to every human being. The exhibition will show how artists historically dealt with themes of work and labour as well as tracing the legacy this art has left – both in the narrower region and on the wider art scene. The individual parts of the exhibition will showcase various aspects of work and labour, including artists’ depictions of different professions – from industry and trade to agriculture and intellectual endeavours – demonstrating how Czech artists’ treatment of these themes has evolved during the 20th century and up to the present day, and encompassing sculpture, painting, photography, and architectural ornament. From the initial notion of work as a necessity, the emphasis has gradually shifted to an enchantment with new technologies and ultimately to contemporary interpretations centering on the notion that art can provide insights into the everyday life of past societies, tracing the evolution of technologies and applying the principle of the “last working day” to preserve our knowledge of working practices and crafts that are nowadays obsolete or largely forgotten.
Exhibition concept: Renata Skřebská
Texts: Renata Skřebská
Contemporary art consultant: Jan Kudrna
Consultant for architectural design: Miloš Matěj
Translation: Christopher Hopkinson
Graphic design: Katarína Jamrišková
Promotion: Jana Malášek Šrubařová, Magdaléna Staňková
Educational programmes: Hedvika Dalecká, Jana Sedláková
Guided tours with curators Renata Skřebská or Gabriela Pelikánováwill také place on Tuesdays or Thursdays 8 October, 15 October, 20 October, 27 October, 12 November, 19 November, 24 November, 1 December, 17 December, 29 December at 4.30 p.m. and on Saturdays 3 October, 7 November, 12 December, 2 January at 3 p.m. Entrance with a valid ticket. Booking advance here (only in Czech).
We are grateful to all the institutions and private collectors who have lent works for the exhibition:
Prague City Gallery; Roudnice nad Labem Gallery of Modern Art; Gallery of the Central Bohemian Region, Kutná Hora; Karlovy Vary Art Gallery; Moravian Gallery, Brno; Museum of Art, Olomouc; National Gallery, Prague; National Heritage Institute, Kroměříž branch, Hradec nad Moravicí castle and Michal coal mine, Ostrava; Vysočina Regional Gallery, Jihlava; Liberec Regional Art Gallery; Ostrava City Museum; North Bohemian Gallery of Fine Arts, Litoměřice; Sládeček Museum of Local History, Kladno; Silesian Museum; East Bohemian Gallery, Pardubice; Gallery of West Bohemia, Plzeň and the artists who loaned us their works.