Collecting Asian Art in Prague Conference will be held in NGP

The National Gallery Prague will host a conference called “Collecting Asian Art in Prague: Cultural Politics and Transcontinental Networks in 20th-Century Central Europe” in Salm Palace from June 17th to June 18th 2021. The event is organized by NGP’s Collection of the Asian Art in a cooperation with the Austrian Science Fund (FWF), namely its project called “Patterns of Transregional Trails”.

This conference looks at collections of Asian art in and outside Prague from the perspective of the national cultural politics interconnected with individual encounters as well as institutional cultural and diplomatic exchange in Central Europe during the 20th century. The focus will lie on collections of Asian art ⁠–⁠ hereby used as an umbrella term for East Asian, South-East Asian, South Asian, Central Asian and West Asian art. The location includes Prague and its neighbouring cultural centres in Central Europe, thereby allowing a comparison of the mechanisms of collecting and presentation across time and place in the 20th and 21st centuries.

Rather than viewing the collection as connected to a deterministic account of cultural flows through centers and peripheries, the conference will focus on international and transcontinental networks. It will look closely at the role these networks played in establishing the grounds for collecting, displaying and narrating Asian art in Central European museums, which were used as platforms for cultural diplomacy or propaganda.

The conference is divided into eight panels, four for each day. Many interesting guests will bring their contributions; to give an example, Yuka Kadoi from the FWF will speak about Japanese scholar Okakura Kakuzo’s work called The Ideas of the East, Beatrix Mecsi from the ELTE Institute of East Asian Studies will explain how an ancient tomb from North Korea appeared in Hungary and Tomáš Winter from the Czech Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Art History will refer about a 1913 Prague exhibition presenting Cubism along with Czech folk art and Asian and African art.

The conference held in English will be open for public. Other details including registration info will be specified later.