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Hallowed Halls: Visiting the Gallery of Art - Prague

November 30, 2015
by CEA MOJO
Title-640x640

The Gallery of Art Prague

Nestled in the corner of Prague's Old Town Square, under the shadow of the Church of Our Lady before Týn, a grand art gallery proudly boasts three impressive names: Dalí, Saudek, and Warhol. This is the Gallery of Art Prague (or GOAP for short). Its three levels house an impressive collection of works, with each floor dedicated to each artist. I visited the gallery recently, and I would like to share with you just how special of an exhibit the current installations provide. Of the many galleries I've had the pleasure of experiencing while studying abroad in Prague, the GOAP stands out as the most organized and impressive.

Dalí

 A self-portrait sculpture of Dalí,
holding his customary egg and cane.
   
 Gala looking at the Mediterranean Sea which at a
distance of 20 metres is transformed into Portrait of
Abraham Lincoln - Salvador Dalí, 1976 (lithograph)
 
 Salvador Dali's famous painting, The Persistence of Memory. The melting clocks represent the fluid and dynamic nature of space and time, particularly in reference to the distortion of dreams and memory.

Visiting the GOAP afforded me with the chance to check off one of my longest-standing bucket list items - visiting a Dalí exhibition. My studies of psychology and film have well acquainted me with the many works of the Spanish surrealist, and ever since I have been itching to experience first-hand his unique pieces. When I learned the GOAP housed a number of his explorations of the mind, I knew this was something I must see before departing from Prague. Dalí's works are located on the first floor of the gallery and features a wide array of paintings, sculptures, and photographs. One of my favorite works is Gala looking at the Mediterranean Sea which at a distance of 20 metres is transformed into Portrait of Abraham Lincoln, which you can see pictured here. Other works include a series of paintings inspired by Dante's The Divine Comedy, various depictions of his famous "space elephants," and the oft-referenced The Persistence of Memory, also pictured below. Perhaps most interesting was the variety of mediums Dalí experimented with, like his paintings on plates and even silk. I left his gallery with a sense of satisfaction and wonder as I approached the Saudek exhibit, unsure of what to expect.

Saudek

Kája's work includes a number of transformations
of objects like this fighter plane into animals.
 A large print of some of Kája Saudek's best work. His mastery of motion and color lifts his subjects off the page.
 
Comic art depicting a CSSR (Czechoslovakian national team)
hockey player whipping past a Canadian opponent.
 
 

This portion of the gallery is a bit different from the rest - this exhibit actually focuses on two artists, twin brothers Jan and Kája Saudek from the Czech Republic. Both artists survived persecution and imprisonment in Nazi concentration camps in Poland. Prior to my visit, I had no familiarity with the work of the Saudek twins, but I eagerly anticipated an introduction to Czech art. The exhibit focused on Jan's photography and the comic book art of Kája. Although Jan's photographs were incredibly moving and powerful, I found myself attracted to the Kája's graphic art style. Its vibrant colors and unflinching subject matters quickly drew me in. I've always been a fan of comic art, but I never imagined that one day I'd find it hanging on the walls of a gallery. The exhibit also contains a recreation of Kája's studio, and many of the works are accompanied by the sketches that lead up to the completed piece, showing off Kája's workflow in a unique and creative way. After taking in the entirety of the Saudek duo, I headed up the stairs for the final exhibit.

Warhol

 Andy Warhol's iconic Cambell's can art dominates the exhibit floor.
 
 Jeff takes in the Marilyn room, complete with
wall-to-wall renditions of the famous photo.

Andy Warhol's pop art is instantly recognizable and iconic. His influence in the world of art and music production is staggering, and the works within this level reflect that. Warhol has close ties to this region, as both his parents were born in Slovakia. The exhibition, titled "I'm OK" features many of his numerous contributions and tributes to the pop culture of America. It even features a working screen printing press, allowing patrons to recreate their own "Warhol" on a tshirt and much more. Unfortunately, this section was closed on the day of my visit. And, of course, the walls are covered with Warhol's many Marilyn Monroe portraits, of every color seemingly imaginable. I cannot recommend this exhibit enough. In all, the Gallery of Art Prague is a fantastic venue with many unique works of art contained within its walls. If you're around Prague, make sure you check it out before the exhibits move on! Best of all, there's a rather generous student discount, and the gift shop is pretty cool, too.

 

Andrew Guastaferro is the Fall 2015 CEA MOJO Blogger in Prague, Czech Republic. He is currently a senior at Chapman University.



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