The Future Is Hidden in the Present. Architecture and Czech Politics 1948-89
Created: 20. 10. 2021 from Vysoká škola uměleckoprůmyslová v Praze

The Future Is Hidden in the Present. Architecture and Czech Politics 1948-89


22. 10. – 22. 12. 2021
opening: 21. 10. 2021 at 18:00

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

One of the main issues of socialist Czechoslovakia was housing construction. The exhibition The Future is Hidden in the Present deals with this problem and more. Architecture and Czech politics 1948-89.

 The exhibition project shows how closely interconnected are supposedly unrelated disciplines such as architecture and politics. A specific example of this relationship is the phenomenon of socialist construction, which was born from the interaction of state interests, architectural practice, and the needs of the public. Within the framework of this coexistence, curator Michaela Janečková tries to find both symbiosis and discord. She monitors topics typical for the period, such as the practice of state ateliers, the production of materials in the socialist construction sector, cooperation with artists, cooperatives, and the promotion of housing construction.

 "No one wanted them to grumble, criticize, God forbid to protest because of the lack of flats or because people do not have shops, cinemas, and kindergartens in housing projects. Architecture originated in this triangle of interests, sometimes compatible with each other and other times creating conflict. For example, the state wanted to control the construction and distribution of apartments but did not have the money to do so, so it pushed architects into cheaper, standardized solutions. At the same time, it used the efforts of private builders who built their own houses for their own money. To those the state offered financial and other assistance with construction, it even allowed and supported cooperative construction ", explains the curator of the exhibition.

 The relationships between the individual groups are also captured in the installation itself. The exhibits are built into mutual interactions, where the whole complex mechanism is explained to visitors. The exhibits show how the state informed and persuaded its citizens, what was offered, the possibilities of construction, how was construction approached, and lastly urbanism and the significant influence that art had on architecture. This is documented through photographs, videos, promotional posters, which were critical for construction, house catalogs, and artifacts, such as the common use of cladding. The exhibits themselves are accompanied by expanded captions, telling a story that thematizes some of the aspects of the relationship between architects, the state, and the public.

 The exhibition The Future is Hidden in the Present tries to demonstrate aspects of the mechanisms in selected exhibits that influenced the construction of that time in a triangle of state policy, architects, and society.


Exhibition curator: Michaela Janečková
Concept of the exhibition: Michaela Janečková, Veronika Rollová
Architectural solution: RCNKSK architects
Graphic design: Tereza Hejmová, Kristýna Žáčková
Production: Ditta Pfefferová

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