The Embassy of the Czech Republic in Ireland, in collaboration with the Gallery of Jaroslav Fragner and the Irish Architectural Archive, has organised the exhibition ‘Czech Architectural Cubism’ to highlight one of the Czech Republic’s, and particularly Prague’s, lesser-known visitor attractions.
The exhibition, which was officially opened by Her Excellency Hana Mottlová, Czech Ambassador to Ireland, and Michael Webb, Chairman, Irish Architectural Archive, opened on 5th September and will run until 14th October 2017 (from Tuesday to Friday 10.00am – 5.00pm) in the Irish Architectural Archive, 45 Merrion Square, Dublin 2.
Cubism was developed as an art form by Spanish artist Pablo Picasso in Paris, a city in which many artists and architects from Prague studied and so it was in the Czech Republic that the short-lived style of architectural cubism flourished, mainly in the 1911-1914 period. Several examples still survive, including Emil Králícek’s cubist lantern on Jungmann Square in Prague, are featured on the exhibition’s 31 display panels, along with some that did not and others that were never built.
Architectural cubism had a short lifespan because it was mainly adopted for building exteriors, while interiors remained traditional – and thus the style tended to be derided by modernists and conservatives alike. Ironically, the most recent ‘discovery’ – first mentioned in 2005 and brought to the attention of specialists four years ago – was the interior of the Congregation Building of the Czechoslovak Evangelical Protestant Church in Pecky by Oldrich Liska, which is now regarded as the best preserved original cubist interior in the Czech Republic.
Just as the work of Charles Rennie Mackintosh is a visitor attraction for many visitors to Glasgow, the works of Czech Architectural Cubism can be a ‘new’ attraction for visitors to Prague.