GASK’s next important exhibition project, The Faces of Expressionism (1905–1925), is organized in collaboration with the Božidar Jakac Art Museum in Kostanjevica na Krki, Slovenia, and is held under the auspices of ambassador Leon Marc of the Republic of Slovenia. The exhibition presents works by German, Czech and Slovenian expressionists from Czech, Slovenian and German collections. This is the first time the Czech public will have the chance to see the work of Slovenian artists who in many cases (Božidar Jakac, France and Tone Kralj) studied in Prague but who were also influenced by the German art scene, in particular the scene in Dresden and Munich. Slovenian curators Robert Simonišek and Goran Milovanović have put together a selection of paintings, prints, and sculptures by a stylistically diverse range of artists representing the “irrational” and “disharmonic” Expressionism that influenced all areas of art. Their deformed depictions of reality reflect archetypal ideas, the frenetic pace of life at the time, and the existential struggles of young artists who emphasized emotions and tried to find an authentic, dramatic form of expression. These artists – both those living in the era’s centres of art and those working in provincial areas – responded radically and critically to an era that had already experienced the First World War, industrialization and urbanization. Today’s viewers will see the primary emotional characteristic of these artists’ works as not just fear and distress, but also hope. Each artist understood artistic tradition and the avant-garde differently, and their works strongly influenced later artists as well. The works will be presented to Czech audiences in various thematic blocks: The Landscape, Social Motifs and War, The Artist in the City, Portrait and Self-Portrait, Religious Motifs and Allegories. Instead of dividing artists geographically or chronologically, this innovative approach groups the works according to ideas and motifs that transcend national characteristics. The exhibition will show prints by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Emil Nolde, Karl Schmidt-Rottluff and Käthe Kollwitz, plus paintings by Czech artists Emil Filla, Bohumil Kubišta and others.
This is the first exhibition since Slovenia’s independence in 1991 to look at Czech-Slovenian relations, and as such it contributes to expanding our knowledge of Central Europe as a whole.