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DOX Centre for Contemporary Art
Poupětova 1, Prague 7
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The exhibition Great Expectations, The Child in Contemporary Czech Art is a loose continuation in the so-called pandemic trilogy, which began with the project Vanitas in Contemporary Czech Art (DOX, 2020–2021). This is also a group exhibition that presents a wide range of artists of different generations and artistic expressions. After the theme of death, dying and impermanence, this time the project focuses on the theme of birth and the beginning of life, a period that is full of twists and turns and expectations, seeming innocence, but also cruelty. Images of childhood change with age and are subject to forgetting; it is an idealized time. In modern society, from the 19th century onwards, the role of the child begins to change more rapidly; childhood becomes a subject to be studied and addressed, that is, managed and controlled. The child is not only an object of scientific research, but also a powerful business. In the history of art, the child has appeared from time immemorial, and has always been an important part of the spiritual history of humanity. The genealogy of the subject is voluminous and has undergone interesting developments. The motif of the child is also abundantly present in contemporary art, perhaps even more so than in earlier times. However, visions and images of childhood are often not favorable, they do not represent a radiant idyll, but melancholy prevails with all its mysteries and anxieties. Naturalism is replaced by caricature, exaggeration, and in some cases, childishness becomes almost monstrous. The child can also be a symbol or allegory and can represent more general themes and issues. The exhibition follows only a certain section of the theme of the child and childhood, its earliest stage from birth to adolescence. Thus, it deliberately does not deal, for example, with the themes of puberty or parenthood, which are specific and broad enough in themselves.
The exhibition presents the work of nearly forty artists, some of whom have been working on this topic for a long time. The form spectrum of the exhibited works is diverse: from painting and collage to sculptures and installations to videos and
photographs. The oldest works date back to the 1990s, as well as new works created for the exhibition. The exhibition is complemented by quotes from child participants of the educational programs that DOX has long organized.
Exhibiting artists: Barbora Balek, Josef Bolf, Veronika Bromová, David Černý, Jiří David, Viliam Dočolomanský, Pavel Forman, Andros Foros, Viktor Frešo, Matouš Háša, Siegfried Herz, Jakub Janovský, Václav Jirásek, Krištof Kintera, Ester Knapová, Milan Knížák, Zdena Kolečková, Eva Koťátková, Ivana Lomová, František Matoušek, Marek Meduna, Barbora Myslikovjanová, Petr Nikl, Daniel Pešta, Jiří Petrbok, Ivan Pinkava, Magdalena Rajchlová, Michal Rapant, Jaroslav Róna, Nikola Emma Ryšavá, Kateřina Šedá, Adam Štech, Jan Švankmajer, Mark Ther, Lubomír Typlt, Jana Vojnarová, Jan Vytiska, Martin Zet, Martin Žák
Curator: Otto M. Urban