english and czech
A small guide to Othová’s extensive photographic work, about which Tomáš Pospiszyl writes: "Her way of capturing a moment with her camera can remind us of a diary, as if a hidden camera had documented someone’s private life, creating images that are simultaneously intimate and impenetrable to the outsider. As with every diary description, we see how the simple fact of seeing can be emotional. We see that these shots of ordinary objects can hold information, atmosphere, even a sense of humor…"
Czech Concepts For The New Century: Great Exchange, High Culture, And Low Budget At The CzechFront Gallery
The CzechFront Gallery opened on Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles at the end of 2000. It is run by the Czech Consulate General in Los Angeles, which also provides major funding and technical support. Additional support is being provided by sponsors, both individuals and institutions.
The gallery has already featured exhibitions of contemporary Czech art and an historical show of Bauhaus-related avant-garde photography. In the making are, however, also several exhibitions by American artists from Los Angeles and New York and some joint international projects. The goal of the CzechFront Gallery is broader than the mere showcasing of Czech art: the facility strives to open up communication channels between Prague and Los Angeles, and, potentially, to broaden the information exchange between Europe and California.
Europe looms further away from Los Angeles than from any part of the US. There is, of course, a nine-hour time difference between Prague and Los Angeles, and it takes a twelve hour flight to transport yourself from one to the other, yet geographical distance is obviously not the main issue...
Ethnically vibrant and multicultural Los Angeles has thousands of good reasons to look elsewhere than Europe for both cultural inspiration and trade and commercial exchange. Yet Europe today is much more than the lessons of the art history books we all flipped through, yet never really focused on. Europe today lives vigorously and stylishly in the present, both culturally and economically, and its art addresses conceptually the issues that the newly globalized world has been forced to share, whether it likes it or not.
Despite all the seeming disparity and a world of differences, there is a tradition of artistic affinity and mutual attraction between Prague and California, dating back years before the fall of the Wall. What did Chris Burden have in common with the Czech art scene of the 1970s? A great deal as it turned out, as he found out by himself on his rather adventurous trip to Prague, having seen the performances of Petr Štembera. In the late 1980s, a dozen of Los Angeles artists went to Prague to explore the world of alchemy -- after all, when it comes to alchemy, it seems proper to seek inspiration from the site of the court of Rudolf II. Yes, there was alchemy, but the LA artists also found out about the communist police, oppression, and about running fast from demonstrations in Prague when they turned ugly. They were young and eager and did not realize they were experiencing history until months later when they watched the Wall actually go down on a TV screen back in California. Despite all that, they remember The Dialogue Prague/Los Angeles fondly.
After the fall of the Communist regime, many young Americans, especially artists and intellectuals, made Prague a home. Since the early nineties, there are tens of thousands Americans living in Prague. After the barriers to their free travel were removed, Czech artists started communicating with both Europe and the US. They exhibit in New York, but they cherish very much the opportunity to be present and show in California. The most prestigious Czech award for young artists, The Chalupecky Prize, is tied with California: it brings the award recipients to San Francisco for three months each year to work and study.
This history of interaction and communication brings forward a mind-boggling number of exciting options for projects and exhibitions. We are looking forward to exploring as many as possible.
Power of Destiny, 1999, 10 black and white photographs, 43.3 x 62.9 in.*Fire For Pockets!, 1997, 6 black and white photographs, 43.3 x 62.9 in*Excalibur, 1999, 6 black and white photographs, 43.3 x 62.9 in.