To Catch Up and Get Ahead | Czechoslovak and Polish design of the 1960s

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To Catch Up and Get Ahead | Czechoslovak and Polish design of the 1960s

October 15, 2015 — January 24, 2016
Museum of Modern Art | Salon, Cabinet

THE EXHIBITION CONCEPT | Alicja Klimczak-Dobrzaniecka, Krzysztof Kucharczyk
COOPERATION | Jan Jeništa, Barbara Banaś
TEXTS | Jan Jeništa
CURATOR | Klára Jeništová
TRANSLATIONS | Adéla Horáková, Karel Pechal
PHOTOGRAPHS | Justyna Fedec, Zdeněk Sodoma
ARCHITECTURAL DESIGN | Jan Jeništa, Marek Novák
GRAPHIC DESIGN | Grupa Projektor, Petr Šmalec
INSTALLATION | Vlastimil Sedláček, Filip Šindelář
PUBLIC RELATIONS | Petr Bielesz
EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMMES | David Hrbek, Michaela Soukupová
ACCOMPANYING PROGRAMMES | Jiří Bartoník
LENDERS | Muzeum Zabawy i Zabawek Kielce, Slovenské múzeum dizajnu v Bratislavě, Terryho ponožky, Jan Jeništa, Barbara Banaś, Filip Spek, Antonín Kratochvíl, Ondřej Čapek

The exhibition project originated in cooperation with the Olomouc Museum of Art and BWA Wroclaw – the Galleries of Contemporary Art, and with the financial support of the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic, the Polish Institute in Prague and the International Visegrad Fund.

In the year when the Space Race was gaining intensity, Boris Pasternak was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature and Elizabeth Taylor starred in the film Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Czechoslovakia triumphed at the first post-war world exhibition EXPO 1958 in Brussels. The national exhibition hall as well as the exposition, experiencing an unprecedented response in Europe, displayed the competitiveness of our production, and for Czechoslovak design became a milestone of an analogous significance to the applied art of Cubism or Functionalism.

Under our conditions the positive acceptance of the Brussels style represented its quick taking root and diffusing into all areas of life. The Czechoslovak exhibition hall, by the visitors called Pavillon bijoux – a jewel, found a response also in neighbouring Poland, designers of which were working under similar conditions

of socialist economy as ours. Even though Poland did not participate in the world’s fair, shortly thereafter it joined the game. Soon it ceased to be clear whose idea was the first one, who copied whom, who was entitled to boast the ownership of a patent, and finally − who „managed to do better“?

The Czechoslovak and Polish exhibits of the golden era of the Brussels style, originating especially in the collections of Jan Jeništa, Barbara Banaś and Filip Spek, will be presented by the Olomouc Museum of Art for the first time on such a scale. In the Salon, on tables with fragile china, a battle will be raging among the different versions of the same topic by Czechoslovak and Polish designers, the result of which will be for the audience to decide. The turmoil will quieten down in other rooms where graphic art, the phenomenon of pressed glass, industrial design, furniture and toys will be compared, and finally subsiding in the peaceful coexistence of furnishings of the Brussels room. The final shape of the exhibition, however, will also depend on the visitors who will be invited to supplement it with objects of their homes. The Museum of Modern Art will thus become not only a place of comparison, but first and foremost a common home of two schools of design.

The exhibition To Catch Up and Get Ahead is a follow-up to the project of BWA Wrocław – The Galleries of Contemporary Art that took place last year in Wrocław, Poland, under the title of Wojna i Pokój.

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