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In Transit Blog: ‘Confrontations’ Abound at Outdoor Art Show in Prague

From Jaroslav Andel's Confrontations, series.CTK/Zdenek Havelka, Rene Volfik
From Jaroslav Andel’s “Confrontations,” series.

Globespotters

Prague

Prague

Expect to be confronted with the unexpected at an open-air exhibition in Prague with the appropriate title of “Confrontations.” Jaroslav Andel, the artistic director at DOX Center for Contemporary Art created the show, which takes inspiration from an older Czech art form: the pairing of contrasting images. The exhibition runs Nov. 18 to 26 on the plaza between the National and Nova Scena theaters.

“The original idea comes from the work of two Czech writers/artists, Jiri Kolar and Zdenek Urbanek,” Mr. Andel said. “Around 1950 they invented a specific collage genre that consists of two different images, reproductions found in magazines, newspapers etc., pasted on one piece of paper. By connecting two pictures that originated in different contexts, they created a new work.”

For the new pieces, Mr. Andel said he chose a strong image, something that “said something” and connected it with something new. For example, a photo of a Joseph Stalin statue — since removed — is placed next to a more current photo of a billboard featuring Vaclav Klaus, the Czech president, in the same location (see above).

“The word ‘confrontations’ functions here as a description of the method of confronting two pictures, people, situations, etc., as well as a description of its function: confronting the viewer’s views [and] prejudices,” he said.

Mr. Andel added that the goal is to confront people’s perception of the current political and social situation in Prague as it relates to recent historical events.

“Since people not only share certain experiences but also have different experiences and backgrounds, their reception will differ,” he said. “Hopefully, the exhibition will make some viewers reflect on what they think and what other people think about the issues and challenges we face today.”

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