Not Exactly a Festival, More Than an Exhibition...
The World´s Largest Performance Design Event
Costume, Stage, Sound, Lighting Design and Architecture from over 70 Countries
Site-Specific Projects, Workshops, Discussions, and Lectures
Exhibitions, Performances and Installations All Over Prague
One of the 2011 must-see events for art professionals and cultural fans!

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On-line Catalogue

is accessible in country alphabetical order or divided into sections:

Full catalogue
Section of Countries and Regions
Extreme Costume
Architecture Section
Student Section


 

Introduction

This, the twelfth Prague Quadrennial, is a year full of changes. The fundamental shift in the exhibition’s focus – as reflected in the new name – is part of a conscious curatorial refocusing of artistic director Sodja Lotker and the entire PQ team. Another change that has fundamentally altered the nature of the Quadrennial is the result of an unfortunate chance occurrence: the fire that in 2008 destroyed the Left Wing of the Industrial Palace (the PQ’s traditional site) had a direct impact on the planning and realization of the twelfth Quadrennial. An intensive search for an alternate site in Prague increasingly showed that the Quadrennial would be faced with an unexpected need for a change in location and context; the PQ could thus fully explore the possibilities that previous exhibitions had already hinted at.

A brief listing of all of this year’s locations clearly shows the direction that we have embarked on: The 2011 Prague Quadrennial will take place at the National Gallery’s Veletržní Palace, the Theatre Faculty of the Academy of Performing Arts, the Prague Crossroads social and cultural centre in St. Anne’s Church, the National Theatre’s public piazzetta, the New Scene of the National Theatre (long the home stage for Laterna Magika and Josef Svoboda), and at many different cultural institutions throughout Prague and on many of the city’s streets and public squares. For eleven days in June 2011, Prague will thus be home to a sweeping contemporary art event, to be found at locations throughout the entire city. The city’s public space (historical contexts and contemporary aspects) will interact with art projects (created by artists from around the world, either as part of a different project/within a different context or created directly for our city) and with audiences (residents of Prague and the thousands of visitors who will come in order to see the Quadrennial). We still have no idea what will come of these interactions, and are anticipating the final results with a certain sense of excitement, but also apprehension and respect. Nevertheless, all the new changes and features this year are not as sudden and unexpected as they may seem at first glance. We still feel a sense of respect towards the PQ’s forty-four-year history, the circumstances under which it was born, and the organizational difficulties prior to 1989. We are endeavouring to further develop the PQ’s purpose and role so that it will remain meaningful for contemporary theatre and today’s audiences. We are continuing in the tradition of past projects and approaches, and are thus contributing to a continuous process that has managed to reflect developments in contemporary theatre and contemporary art in general. If anything, we are directing our gaze even more emphatically to the future; we want the PQ to offer inspiration, to ask questions, and to present the broad range of possibilities available to current and future generations of artists visiting the Quadrennial – who will take home these possibilities and inspiration and apply them in their own work. As for audiences, the aim of the Quadrennial should be to open their eyes to the full range of contemporary art in all its forms, genres, and experiences.

These extensive changes in the concept behind the PQ have been accompanied by fundamental changes in and an expansion of the circle of people and organizations involved in the PQ’s preparations. Besides the Prague-based creative and organizing team, the PQ has been organized by an international team of curators, and this year’s Intersection project was prepared in collaboration with more than a dozen European partners. Intersection will feature not only projects by artists who have exhibited at the Quadrennial in the past, but also entirely new artists, often from fields that have never before been represented at the Quadrennial. Thanks to Intersection, the Quadrennial has expanded not only its range of disciplines and genres, but also its presence in space and time. We are shifting from the presentation of one-off events in one location to continuous institutional activities over the course of the four-year interval between Quadrennials, held in the Czech Republic and abroad. Over the past few years and in collaboration with many different domestic and foreign partners, we have organized international theoretical symposia and artistic workshops, set up an online scenographic information portal, and arranged for the presentation of Intersection performances throughout Europe during the second half of 2011. For the realization of Intersection, the Arts and Theatre Institute received the largest EU grant ever received by the Czech Republic in the area of culture.

Because of its four-year periodicity and international uniqueness, there is a sense that the Quadrennial should present literally “everything.” Nevertheless, despite this openness and comprehensive scope, we must be careful to preserve its compact nature, purpose and conceptual unity. The PQ is not a trade fair; each Quadrennial has its own vision and aim that need to be observed. For this reason, we cannot include all ideas and projects that are submitted to us. On the other hand, the PQ has always been an important meeting place, and this characteristic of an open platform for artists and theoreticians and their shared discussion and collaboration is something that we hope to emphasize even further. This is the reason for our consciously issuing so many open calls for participation for individual artists, and for including not only exhibition sections and curated projects, but also individual presentations such as workshops, Pecha Kucha and the Portfolio Library.

The PQ has faced many obstacles in the past, and thanks to the still vibrant memories of its founders and of artists who have participated in the PQ since the very beginning, we are well aware of and thankful for the fact that we can organize the PQ freely and without censorship. We should nevertheless mention one critical factor that has significantly affected the past four years in the Czech Republic and throughout the world – the financial crisis, which has had a serious impact on culture and the arts. Despite great apprehension regarding the participation of individual countries and artists – and the Quadrennial’s entire existence – it has turned out that, like the aforementioned fire, the crisis is also a challenge. A challenge to seek out new ways of working, new partners, new themes and forms. The results of these endeavours still await evaluation, but the growing number of exhibiting countries (62 this year, of which 11 are new entrants) offers the hope that artistic creativity and vision can overcome financial and organizational limitations. Of course, the crisis has again forced us to justify the financial resources expended in the Czech Republic and in dozens of other countries for the realization of the Quadrennial and the presentation of contemporary art, and in many cases it was one reason (though not the only one) for an economical and carefully considered approach to the creation of the individual expositions and projects.

For these reasons, we would like to thank all those around the world who were involved in the complicated process of organizing this year’s PQ. We would also like to thank all our co-workers, partners, and supporters in the Czech Republic and abroad who, like us, believed that these new visions and contexts would bring PQ into the 21st century, and that the broad range of presentations, confrontations, and interactions among all the artists involved in the PQ will offer inspiration, new ways of thinking and new viewpoints for Prague and the Czech Republic, for Czech artists and audiences, and also for all the professionals and students from around the world who again will come together for this year’s 2011 Quadrennial.