After the Coronavirus in the UNESCO Town
May 2021 to January 2022
This year's exhibition program was created as a reaction to the completely unusual year of 2020 with a pandemic, closed galleries - but also restaurants and other establishments. Fear and even panic took hold in March 2020, when all the foreign artists and partners left us overnight, i.e. they left Krumlov in horror at the announced closure of the borders. The situation was all the more absurd because it happened a year after Kateřina Šeda and I implemented the large-scale UNES-CO project, where families lived in Krumlov in an attempt to ascertain what possibilities existed for permanent residents to lead a normal life with everyday activities in this town which is generally swamped with tourists. We dealt with the question of what cities with a UNESCO stamp could actually put up with as regards tourism. The dramatic turnaround that occurred, i.e. the completely empty streets of the town, where it had not been possible to break through the crowds of tourists the previous year, required an answer.
This season will present artists who have experienced both situations – over the top tourism and then a drop to zero: situations where the beauty, elegance, and mystery of architectural jewels reappeared, but caused anxiety in individual strolling visitors (including in several artists who had been invited by us to take up a residence here).
When the painter Alena Anderlová stayed in still crowded Krumlov in 2018, she mainly found inspiration at night and her paintings (until recently exhibited here) depicted an empty city, with a maximum of one or two people hurrying by or, more frequently, an animal wandering the streets of Krumlov. Today you hardly meet anyone on the street and instead of tourists and locals you meet ducks marching along the pavement and lonely dogs roaming around. In contrast to this we find densely populated places in a number of the artists´ sketches - stories with characters who are in reality the missing people.
The upcoming exhibitions capture a completely exceptional situation that maybe none of us will ever experience again. This situation is presented with all its pros and cons and particular attention is paid to the human motif – man´s desire for what he does not have, what he lacks, what he cannot buy and his ability (even employing hyperbole and humour) to cope with the situation.
The exhibitions are an artistic documentary that names the problems that have affected almost the entire population of the world, thus helping to make people aware of the place of art in human society at a time when basic needs such as food, education, family coexistence and help for others are being addressed. Art captures real and fantastic situations, it helps us to become aware of many things and is therapy and relaxation for us.
The extensive "Well then…" exhibition by Professor Michael Rittstein (b. 1949) is a retrospective with paintings dating from the 1970s to the present. It displays the famous "scenes from prefabricated flats" to the latest fantastic paintings created during the pandemic in the Šumava countryside. The exhibition emphasizes works that have not yet been exhibited.
Kateřina Šedá (b. 1977) has also provisionally reacted to the pandemic period. We will be placing her statement into her grandmother´s living room, which we brought here, exhibited and opened to visitors at the time that "remnants of normal life" were being sought in the centre of Krumlov.
We have made one of the halls available to the young painter Jakub Sýkor (born 1984), who lived and worked in the centre of Český Krumlov for three months with the support of the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic in 2020. The cycle of paintings created here was partly painted in deserted Krumlov and partly at a time when Czech tourists had begun to return to the city.
The existing installation by Tets Ohnari - the already famous glass Český Krumlov under a supermoon – has been complemented with further installations by the Japanese artist.
The documentary exhibition about Schiele's life and work remains accessible, as well as a series of photographs by Josef Seidel depicting Český Krumlov during Schiele's stays in the town.