Toyen: The dreaming rebel exhibition opens

The exhibition will highlight the important stages of the artist’s oeuvre from her first landscapes, through Artificalism ⁠–⁠ the movement she founded in Paris with Jindřich Štyrský ⁠–⁠ to her major Surrealist paintings, as well as the crucial themes of her work, such as poetry, nature, eroticism and alchemy. In addition to paintings, drawings and collages, the exhibition will present Toyen’s rich illustration work from the collections of Czech and European museums and private collections, as well as works dedicated to Toyen by her friends and famous artists or poets, such as Yves TanguyVictor BraunerAndré Breton and others. For the first time this project is going to be presented in three European cities as a result of collaboration with the Hamburger Kunsthalle and the Musée d’Art Moderne de Paris ⁠–⁠ Paris Musées.

The exhibition with the subtitle The Dreaming Rebel will be open along with the alleviation of the anti-epidemic measures on May 4th in the Waldstein Riding School in Prague in extended opening hours (Tuesday-Sunday: 10AM ⁠–⁠ 7PM, Wednesday: 10AM ⁠–⁠ 8.30 PM). Tickets for specific time slots will be sold from Tuesday May 4th from 10AM. It is recommended to buy tickets online, but they can be bought at the cashier as well.
Toyen, born Marie Čermínová (1902⁠–⁠1980), is one of the world’s most original and most popular Czech artists of the 20th century. She also became famous during her lifetime in France, where she lived permanently from 1947. The artist’s distinctive oeuvre and original views of life arouse interest in her and her art all over the world. Over sixty years of her continuous career as well as close relationships with the leading poets and thinkers of the time, she produced a multi-layered and epoch-making work.
The international project, conceived by the curators Anna Pravdová, Annie Le Brun and Annabelle Görgen-Lammers, seeks to showcase and commemorate the artist, and three institutions joined their forces, namely National Gallery Prague, Hamburger Kunsthalle and Musée d’Art Moderne de Paris ⁠–⁠ Paris Musées.
“The exhibitions in Prague, Hamburg and Paris have been designed separately in line with the museum context of the cities. Nonetheless, they are all the result of a cooperation that was continuously broadened. Special thanks go primarily to the lenders of the artworks and many others who have significantly contributed to the successful implementation of the project. Without the deep understanding of the importance of the project of showing Toyen in a new perspective it would remain nothing but a plan on a piece of paper,” says Ms Alicja Knast, NGP General Director.
“The exhibition at the Waldstein Riding School will be divided into different periods, reflecting the important stages of Toyen’s oeuvre, such as Artificialism, the first Surrealist period in the thirties, the Second World War, her exile in Paris after 1947 and her participation in the activities of the French Surrealist Group, and the collaboration with the Editions Maintenant collective. It will also accentuate the themes such as poetry, nature, eroticism, alchemy, analogy, the dream and the night. In addition to paintings, drawings and collages, rich illustration work will be presented. Focus is also placed on Toyen’s key collaboration with her friends from the Prague and Paris Surrealist groups, such as the painters and poets Jindřich Štyrský, Jindřich Heisler, André Breton, Benjamin Péret, Radovan Ivšić, Annie Le Brun, and others,” the curator Anna Pravdová explains.
The architect Zbyněk Baladrán and the graphic designer Robert V. Novák have created a truly remarkable exhibition design.

An extensive, richly illustrated monographic catalogue in four languages, compiled by authors from all over the world and bringing new and varied views on Toyen’s works, is published for the exhibition, where the Czech and English versions accompany the Prague premiere. Moreover, a visual booklet called Pocket Paintings, the third volume of the NGP’s series, is released for both children and adults.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a wide array of educational and public programmes that will present Toyen’s artistic thinking, creation, and imagination. Guided tours, on-line lectures by Czech and foreign experts, and creative workshops will also be part of the project. At the venue an interactive studio is also prepared for visiting alongside the main show.

Following the NGP’s commitment to finding ways for broadening the audience, on-line programmes will continue and social media will feature videos with curators’ commentaries on selected works, children’s programmes, and a special guided tour that will be premiered by ČT art. NGP also joined forces with Národní filmový archiv and has prepared a special programme in Kino Ponrepo for more released times.

For more information and updates about the programme, please visit the National Gallery’s website and social media.

The Bohemian Heritage Fund is the partner of the exhibition, the Badokh Foundation sponsored the educational videos, and the French Institute in Prague also contributed to this international project. Komerční banka is the NGP’s general partner.
Toyen, Zástěna, 1966, Musée d´art moderne de la ville de Paris


Toyen: The Dreaming Rebel
  • 8/4—15/8 2021
  • Waldstein Riding School