Josef Sudek: The Topography of Ruins. Prague 1945 (Wrocław)

14. 3. – 5. 5. 2019
Museum of Architecture in Wrocław
Bernardyńska Street 5, 50156 Wrocław, Poland

In 1945, immediately after the end of the Second World War, Josef Sudek (1896–1976) took to the streets of Prague to document the damage sustained by the city. This endeavor produced a unique series of almost four hundred photographs, both documentary and artistic in nature, depicting the ravaged buildings, dismantled statues and the air raid and fire precautions of the time. Today, this collection of negatives is housed at the Czech Academy of Sciences' Institute of Art History in Prague. The current exhibition presents forty newly-made prints of these images which have never been exhibited before. Wrocław's Museum of Architecture hosts the last reprise of the exhibition project which had already been on display in Düsseldorf, Milan, Rome, Paris and in its extended version in Prague. The exhibition in Wrocław is organized in cooperation with the Czech Centre in Warsaw.

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„Throughout almost all of the war, Prague was spared destruction from air raids – air raids did not strike Prague until 1945. Sudek’s photographs mainly reflect two historical events of that year. The first of those took place on February 14, 1945, when Allied aircraft mistakenly bombed Prague, causing the destruction of historical monuments chiefly to the south of the historical city center (the Prague neighborhoods of Nové Město and Vinohrady). Here Sudek focused chiefly on the area around the Emmaus Monastery, which suffered particularly heavy damage. The interior of the ruined monastery in Sudek’s photographs finds a strange poetry among the rubble and remains, with light entering through the fallen ceilings. The second of these events, the so-called Prague Uprising of May 5–9, 1945, ushered in the era of peace and liberation, but at the price of the fatal destruction of the historic Old Town Hall. Of the historical monuments which were destroyed, Sudek’s documentation focused mainly on the area of the Old Town Square as it returned to life after the war.

The third major theme of Sudek’s cycle of war-related photographs was the depot of confiscated statues and bells at Maniny, at the river port on the Vltava, in the Prague district of Holešovice where Sudek photographed church bells and statues which had been dismantled from Prague monuments and piled into accidental surrealist assemblages. This series of images also features photographs of empty pedestals in public places, which were stripped of “their” statues during the German Occupation, as well as of various landmarks, such as abandoned barricades and the fire water reservoirs that, for a considerable time, changed the face of many Prague squares.“

– from the text to the exhibition

Poster JPG
A5 Postcard PDF
A4 Flyer with texts in Polish PDF
A4 Flyer with texts in English PDF

Colophon:

Organized by: Institute of Art History of the Czech Academy of Sciences, Czech Centre in Warszawa, Museum of Architecture in Wrocław
Photographs by: Josef Sudek
Curators: Mariana Kubištová, Vojtěch Lahoda, Katarína Mašterová
Enlargements: Vlado Bohdan
Video: Adéla Kremplová
Architectural Design: Barbara Zedková and Lenka Mrzílková (Studio Miaow)
Mounting of Photographs: Tereza Cíglerová, Kateřina Doležalová, Barbara Gajewská, Petra Šemíková
Graphic Design: Martin Groch and Tim+Tim
Production: Tereza Koucká, Katarína Mašterová, Martin Pavlis, Adéla Kremplová, Jolanta Gromadzka
Acknowledgements: Adam Havlík, Markéta Janotová, Jitka Zámorská, Taťjana Langášková
Translation into English: Stephan von Pohl

OPENING
14 March 2019 at 5 pm – will be attended by Adéla Kremplová and Martin Pavlis from the Institut of Art History of the Czech Academy of Sciences

GUIDED TOUR
15 March 2019 at 12 pm – curatorial guided tour with Adéla Kremplová and Martin Pavlis (in English). Free entry

Address:
Museum of Architecture in Wrocław, Bernardyńska Street 5, 50156 Wrocław, Poland
Open Tuesday – Wednesday and Saturday – Sunday 10am – 5 pm; Thursday – Friday 12 pm – 7 pm

Exhibition is open until 5 May 2019

Facebook of the Museum of Architecture
http://ma.wroc.pl/en/
http://warsaw.czechcentres.cz/cs/

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