Big Thing

22. 3.–11. 5. 2024
opening: 21. 3. from 18 hodin
Technological centre UMPRUM, Mikulandská 134/5, Prague 1

Open: Mon–Sat 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Free entry

The Academy of Arts, Architecture, and Design in Prague presents the latest projects of students and graduates who contribute to positive changes in society through their art and design. This year's biennial UMPRUM exhibition seeks to overcome the feeling of powerlessness we feel when we observe current political, social, or climatic developments. The idea that a series of small steps precede the creation of a great thing permeates the exhibition.

Big Thing

"Why create at all in a civilization that is going down the drain? The UMPRUM biennial exhibition seeks to answer this question. In the face of spreading scepticism, its authors feel that in the current moment, the habits of thoughts in art, architecture, and design need to be cautiously reconsidered. They are not concerned with writing alternative scenarios for the future. The creativity they prefer does not take the form of spectacular heroic acts, but of everyday, ant-like work that, even in its modesty and usefulness, brings visible practical benefits," says Jindřich Vybíral, the rector of UMPRUM, describing the feelings and philosophy of the student's work.

Today's young authors are very sensitive to how the world around them is evolving, and this is reflected in their work. Curators Marie Kordovská and Anna Sedláček Roubalová, together with their colleague Petr Hák, have focused on projects that address contemporary social issues responsibly, without setting unreasonable goals. "Our time is accompanied by a feeling of paralysis, a feeling that it is not worth trying. But we didn't want the exhibition to give the impression of oppression. On the contrary, it brings a sense of lightness and hope that it is possible to turn the situation around. We chose works that bring achievable, playful solutions or a new perspective on how to look at the world. The students of UMPRUM prove with their projects that every small step forward counts,” as the creators explain the concept of the Big Thing exhibition.

Among the works that will be on display in the entrance hall of the UMPRUM Technology Center, we could mention Matěj Neubert's Skidder. He focused on old skis, which are very difficult to recycle. As his graduation project, using the DIY method he invented a simple system of components that allow anyone to make a snow ski bike out of skis that have already reached the end of their useful life. Matěj Neubert was also nominated for the Czech Grand Design Award for the Skidder.

A different, but no less perceptive approach was shown by Kristína Opálková, a student of the Studio of Photography II, in her project Urban Biotope. Every day she walks to school around Prague's arterial road, which is notoriously known as an unsolvable problem in the capital. She has decided to show that although the main thoroughfare is considered a key traffic artery of Prague, a kind of alienated "necessary evil", there are signs of life on it. Kristina completely changes the way we tend to think about this seemingly impenetrable strip of asphalt.

The architectural concept of the exhibition, crafted by Barbora Šimonová and Markéta Mráčková from COSA studio, mirrors the approach taken by the curators in selecting the works. They take full advantage of the possibilities of the new TC Mikulandská building and do not build any new structures or partitions. They just hang the exhibits or place them freely in the space, giving the whole installation a lightness and airiness.

The biennial exhibition of UMPRUM students The Big Thing will be opened by the rector Jindřich Vybíral together with the curators of the exhibition on March, 21st at 6 pm. The opening programme will be provided by the school's graduates. There will be an electrifying cabaret by Meograf Lakatoš, who will present a short projection with the help of two meotars accompanied by two acoustic guitars. For the rest of the evening, Cyril Dunděra aka DJ Cereal will be performing for listening and dancing.

The exhibition is accompanied by the catalogue Big Thing, which offers a detailed view of the exhibited projects. It is accompanied by photographs of the works by Tomáš Zumr. Furthermore, on April 9th and 24th, interested parties can find out more at guided tours for the general public, or take part in a workshop for children on April 13th.

The exhibition will be open until May 11th. 


Curators of the exhibition: Marie Kordovská, Anna Sedláček Roubalová, and Petr Hák.
Ilya Bazhanov, Dita Buchtová, Tereza Burianová, Julie Černá, Sofie Gjuričová, Thea Chatrná, Svetlana Devyatkina, Sabina Falcmanová, Inga Khatiashvili, Jakub Kozelka, Valéria Kršiaková, Adam Kvaček, Darja Lukjanenko, Jasmína Lustigová, Mike Ma, Jiří Macků, Tomáš Máčik, Ondřej Mazanec, Matej Mihályi, Petra Mikolášová, Jakub Míča, Matěj Neubert, David Novák, Kristína Opálková, Natália Peterková, Mikuláš Procházka, Ruta Putramentaite, Anastázie Rainischová, Jakub Rozehnal, Šimon Schnierer, Barbora Satranská, Ondřej Salava, Filip Sobol, Ema Soukupová, David Stingl, Antónia Stretavská, Kateřina Suchánková, Kateřina Šípová, Jana Štefková, Jáchym Štulíř, Thanh Mai Tranová, Tuan Trieu, Patrik Trska, Jonáš Urbánek, Valerie Vrbová, Josef Žárský, and Viktória Žigmundová.
Exhibition design: COSA: Markéta Mráčková, and Barbora Šimonová.
Graphic design: Ondřej Mazanec, and Kateřina Pravdová.
Photography: Tomáš Zumr
Production: Natalie Krausová, Šárka Váňová.
Installation of the exhibition: Extended Production
Technical collaboration: Marek Volf