The art of tapestry | The work and its image – two parts of a whole

28 May 2020 - 27 Sep 2020
Museum of Modern Art
Mikuláš Medek, Day and night, 1955, tapestry, 256 × 202 cm, realisation 2020
Mikuláš Medek, Day and night

The tapestries have been since centuries a form of art combining the beauty with utility and visual art with a typical textile handicraft. They have always been considered an art discipline and therefore highly valued. Each single one is created as an original; it transfers the art piece of into the textile medium either from a free work or from a work designed as its prototype. The focus of the exhibition lays in the second example – the idea of a “work and its prototype”. It offers us an extraordinary chance to observe, how the used technique influences the performance of the work, how far it can differ from the prototype and what is the relation between the two works. To create the prototypes of tapestries is a very specific process. Not every art work has the inner potential to get authentically transferred into the textile form. The tapestry has, among others, also its given technical limits, which have to be reflected during the realisation.

Let’s give the floor to the director of the Tapestry Manufactory in Valašské Meziříčí, who is its main artist and a renowned author of many tapestries, too: “In the art and in the handicraft as well, there is a continuous chain of inspiration and realisation, which might become inspiration again. The work of the artist in the tapestry manufactory is a great challenge and truly hard work in one. Ninety-five percent of their invention and time, the authors spent while searching of how to transfer the work by other artists into the authentic piece of art realised in a textile medium. The painter searches his own way, my searching for the transformation into the language of textile is defined by the consciousness of the long lifetime of the manufacturers, which has to be put in every realisation of the tapestry. I truly esteem their artistic handicraft, their ability of artistic empathy, their lifetime they spent on the art work.”

The exhibition includes primarily the tapestries realised in the last thirty years and created on design of leading Czech visual artists; some of them are completed with their prototypes and designs. The project presents tapestries form the Moravian Tapestry Manufactory in Valašské Meziříčí established in 1898. Its tradition survived both World Wars, the totality of communism, a complete downturn in the 90s of the 20th century – until today. That is why it belongs to the unique “live monuments” contributing to keep the cultural heritage of the magnificent art handicraft alive. Both the quality and the quantity of the works of the tapestry in Valašské Meziříčí makes it a unique project of its art in the context of whole Europe.

THE ART OF TAPESTRY | The work and its prototype
authors of the exhibition | Jan T. Strýček, Simona Jemelková
curator | Simona Jemelková
professional cooperation | Ladislav Daněk
exhibition design | Michal Soukup
graphic design | Petr Šmalec
texts | Olga Mehešová, Kamila Valoušková, Simona Jemelková
translation | Zuzana Henešová
installation | Vlastimil Sedláček, Filip Šindelář, Dalibor Sedlák
projection | Kamil Zajíček
pr | Lukáš Horák, Tomáš Kasal
lenders | Moravian Tapestry Manufactury in Valašské Meziříčí, Chamber of Deputies – Parliament of Czech Republic, Ministry of Finance of Czech Republic, Museum of the Region Wallachia, The Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague, collection of Jindřich Saidl, private lenders