The Strength and Future of the Nation Is National Identity / Architecture and Czech Politics in the 19th Century
Created: 21. 1. 2021 from Vysoká škola uměleckoprůmyslová v Praze


Strength and Future are the Nation's Nationality

Architecture and Czech politics in the 19th century

Due to coronavirus restriction is the gallery temporarily closed!

October 16th - December 12th, 2020

UM Gallery, UMPRUM, nám. Jana Palacha 80, Praha 1


How was Czech nationalism projected on architecture? And how did it reflect the relationship of citizens to the state and the crown? The exhibition at the UM Gallery is the first output of the Architecture and Czech Politics project, on which a team of experts from the Department of Theory and History of Art at the Academy of Arts, Architecture, and Design in Prague (UMPRUM) has been working for several years.

The project examines the role architecture had in the process of integration of the modern Czech nation but also presents a wider range of political interests that Czech architecture was to serve in the 19th century. "The exhibited works show in particular how architecture shaped the national cultural identity, how it demonstrated loyalty to the regime, and how it contributed to the political and social differentiation of society", as prof. Jindřich Vybíral the creator of the exhibition briefly summarizes.

The exhibition itself will be conceived as a studio - a studio with worktables on which visitors can view reproductions of original historical plans of buildings and photographs. In contrast to these exhibited works will be a constructed assemblage of photographs by contemporary photographer Tomáš Zumr.

In addition to these materials, the exhibition will also offer original drawings lent by the National Gallery in Prague and plaster casts of building elements of the National Theater and the National Museum, borrowed from the National Technical Museum. A rarity of this exhibition is the charred part of a chandelier, which was preserved after the National Theater fire.
Three monumental gates with musical accompaniment of songs with a national subtext represent and illustrate the political situation and its influence on events in architecture.

The topic of the entire exhibition will be discussed in detail by the publication of the same name "Strength and Future are the Nation's Nationality", prepared by prof. Jindřich Vybíral and his colleagues. The book, like the exhibition, explores the various forms of interactions between architecture and politics. It observes how architectural forms represented ideological and socio-psychological contents, or how they co-created power relations and political positions. It also focuses on the function of monumental architecture and its function in building the loyalty of citizens to the state or dynasty.

The exhibition "Strength and Future are the Nation's Nationality" taking place at the House of the Black Madonna simultaneously with the exhibition "Spirit that works" in one of the exhibition spaces of the Museum of Applied Arts in Prague. It follows up on the topic of the relationship between politics and architecture in the Czech lands and analyzes the situation in the period from the establishment of Czechoslovakia to the end of World War II. Both events were created during a joint project within the Program of Applied Research and Development of National and Cultural Identity NAKI II.


Creator of the exhibition: Jindřich Vybíral
Cooperation: Michaela Janečková, Jan Galeta
Curator of the exhibition: Lenka Kerdová
Architectural design: Filip Kosek, Jan Říčný
Graphic design: Tereza Hejmová
Photography: Tomáš Zumr
Production: Dita Pfefferová, Šárka Váňová

 Loans: National Technical Museum, National Gallery Prague, National Heritage Institute, Institute of Art History Czech Academy of Sciences, Prague Castle Archive, National Library of Technology, Olomouc Museum of Art, Moravian Provincial Archive in Brno, and State and Regional District Archives Třeboň, Tábor, Šumperk, Litoměřice, Tachov, Děčín, etc.

The exhibition presents one of the results of the Architecture and Czech Politics research project in the 19th and 21st century by the Department of Theory and History of Art at the Academy of Arts, Architecture, and Design in Prague. The project was supported by the Czech Ministry of Culture within the Program of Applied Research and Development of National and Cultural Identity NAKI II (DG18P02OVV041).