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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

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 worlds 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





Photo Gallery
Miroslav Navrátil

chairs for tram T3, 1960
Photo: Justyna Fedec

Alan Fuchs

rattan chair, 1960
Photo: Justyna Fedec

Author unknown

Bakelite wall clock Elektročas, 1965
Photo: Justyna Fedec

Bohumil Míra

telephone Tesla T65 H, ie. the coffin 1963
Photo: Justyna Fedec

Stanislav Lachman

flatiron ETA E 211, 1964
Photo: Justyna Fedec

Libuše Niklová

Toy Tomcat, 1963
Photo: Zdeněk Sodoma

Lubomir Tomaszewski

coffee service Dorota, 1961
Photo: Justyna Fedec

Danuta Duszniak, Jaroslav Ježek

Danuta Duszniak, coffee service „Prometeusz“, 1959
Jaroslav Ježek, coffee service Tria, 1959
Photo: Justyna Fedec

Jaroslav Ježek

Manon coffee service, 1958
Photo: Justyna Fedec

Mieczysław Naruszewicz, Jaroslav Ježek

Mieczysław Naruszewicz, sculpture Aurochs, 1957 
Jaroslav Ježek, sculpture Big bull, 1963 
Photo: Justyna Fedec

Mieczysław Naruszewicz, Jindřich Wielgus (?)

Mieczysław Naruszewicz, sculptures Scottish Terrier, 1961
Jindřich Wielgus (?), Sculptures Fox Terrier I and II, 1964
Photo: Justyna Fedec

Henryk Jędrasiak, Jitka Forejtová

Henryk Jędrasiak, sculptures Sudan woman and Seated Girl, 1958
Jitka Forejtová, sculpture Seated Girl I and II, 1962
Photo: Justyna Fedec

Various Authors

Vases of pressed glass, after 1960
Photo: Justyna Fedec

Josef Hůrka

office lamp, after 1960
Photo: Justyna Fedec

Authors unknown

packaging articles, after 1960
Photo: Justyna Fedec

Author unknown

shaver Super Holit, before 1966
Photo: Justyna Fedec

Various authors

Toys, before 1966
Photo: Justyna Fedec


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