Place: Trade Fair Palace
“A sable cloud turns forth its silver lining on the night,“ with such a motto by 17th century British poet, John Milton, the National Gallery in Prague celebrates the 25th anniversary of the famed Jindřich Chalupecký Award. Not a typical group show, but rather an exhibition in a close-up, an assemblage of fragments, composed of newly conceived or revisited, or site-specifically applied works by the laureates of Czech Republic’s most distinguished art prize, ”Silver Lining“ sets up an array of questions that critically approach the prize’s mechanism of judgment and investigate its sustainability as well as its role in the process of writing a recent history of (Czech) contemporary art.
Praised by Václav Havel as ”a good and virtuous deed,“ the Award – an homage to one of the most outstanding minds in Czech art theory and history, Jindřich Chalupecký – has proudly taken the lead in shaping the identity of a young Czech art scene for the recent quarter of the century, becoming an invaluable platform of confronting the historical perspective (crossing over beyond the threshold towards a mature practice), diagnosing the present (keeping up with the pulse of now) and challenging the expectations and demands of the future by constantly redefining the criteria of an aesthetic choice and legitimating a critical evaluation.
”Silver Lining“ is neither a memory box, nor a hall of fame. The exhibition offers a moment of self-reflection, an anatomical cut through a body of an institutional phenomenon. It balances success and failure, heroism and weakness. Each artwork acts as a performative gesture; it is a particle which contributes to a microcosm of an art-historical continuity and rupture. Lost in the exhibition’s galaxy, it strives for an autonomy and claims a presence of an exquisite, subjective voice. Accompanied by the mini-narratives of Jindřich Chalupecký Award’s main protagonists (founding fathers, jury members, supporters and sponsors), the exhibition becomes an agonistic space, a polyphonic collection of hybridic subjects, examining the importance of (being) a prize. As such, beyond the trauma of unfulfilled ambition, marking a search for a moment of clarity, it is (or rather it desperately claims to be) an expression of hope and optimism. (A) Silver Lining.
After having brought to life ”two blissful twins,“ Youth and Joy, John Milton’s Spirit concludes the mask:
”But now my task is smoothly done, I can fly, or I can run quickly to the green earth’s end, where the bowed welkin slow doth bend, and from thence can soar as soon to the corners of the moon. Mortals, that would follow me, love Virtue; she alone is free. She can teach ye how to climb higher than the sphery chime; or, if Virtue feeble were, heaven itself would stoop to her“ (”Comus“).
Artists: Vladimír Kokolia, František Skála, Michal Nesázal, Martin Mainer, Michal Gabriel, Petr Nikl, Kateřina Vincourová, Jiří Příhoda, Jiří Černický, Lukáš Rittstein, David Černý, Tomáš Vaněk, Markéta Othová, Michal Pěchouček, Ján Mančuška, Kateřina Šedá, Barbora Klímová, Eva Koťátková, Radim Labuda, Jiří Skála, Mark Ther, Vladimír Houdek, Dominik Lang, Roman Štětina
Curated by Adam Budak in a collaboration with Jen Kratochvil
Trade Fair Palace, korzo
No charge for entrance to exhibition
General partner: J&T Banka
Co-organisers: Jindřich Chalupecký Society, The Moravian Gallery in Brno, The National Gallery in Prague, Trust for Mutual Understanding, The Foundation for a Civil Society
Financial support: The Ministry of Culture, City Prague, City Brno, Státní fond kultury ČR, US Embassy, Czech Centres, Stuchlíková attorneys-at-law, Fair Art
Main media partner: Czech Television
Media partners: RESPEKT, Art+Antiques, Artalk, ArtMap, Flash Art, Radio Krokodýl
Special partners: Přítomnost společenská revue, MCAE, www.audioguide.cz, vše na stolní tenis cz, joinmusic, Astronomical Institute of the Czech Academy of Sciences, HELLMA, Czech Geological Survey, Jobs.cz, story design