“MÁCHA-ANDERSEN-EXUPÉRY” EXHIBITION OPENING IN LIBEREC, Sept. 9, 2021
Right now I am feeling totally exhausted but also immensely happy. I keep on asking myself, what have we actually done here in Liberec?? No, no, it’s not the end yet. There will be two beautiful lectures on Mácha and Exupéry, but consider for yourself – 25 two-metre canvases suspended at a height of 10-15 metres, a show with stars of Czech theatre, about 150 people at the opening, professional catering, the support of two prominent companies, ABB and ERSTE Premier, but above all that – great atmosphere, relaxed faces of visitors and positive emotions all the way till the end of the exhibition opening which were in great contrast with the covid frustration and greyness of the past few months.
But first things first – Friday and Saturday were the days when I got to remember my engineering beginnings…
The week of Aug 30 – Sept 2
As a prequel, on August 30th, the Monograph was launched in the Czech Photo Centre in Prague. We tested the process of hanging the canvases on suspension poles, the installation and deinstallation and all seemed absolutely fine. On Tuesday the author of the script and director of the performance, Tomáš Vondrovic, came to Liberec to review all the technical details, the stage, light and sound design. I spent the rest of the week preparing installation plans together with Josef Trakal from the SIA Design studio so that we would manage the installation as efficiently as possible.
Friday, Sept 3rd
The projection of trusses into the library floor, the projection of suspension planes, preparation of the suspension cables, fixing the suspension hooks and coding the cables, projections of manipulation points from which the canvases would be pulled up under the roof of the library stairwell area. Well, it did not have much in common with civil engineering, it was more like drawing up project documents.
Saturday, Sept 4th
We all came to the Library in the morning, the bunch of people on whom it all depended, including the climbers. We brought the canvases and unwrapped them one by one and hung them on the walls. The climbers checked out the plans and because they had lots of experience from working at heights at construction sites they seemed pretty clear to them. We determined the flow of the installation and set off. The Library remained open to the public until 1 pm, so we had quite a few onlookers who were wondering what for goodness’ sake we were doing there. By six in the evening, it was done and for the first time we could see with our own eyes what Radim Kousal, the author of the concept, had in mind when we talked about it in November the previous year.
Monday, Sept 6th
The first actors’ rehearsal. Táňa Medvecká and Tomáš Pavelka came to coordinate with the sound designer, Honza Kozák, and I came to check that the three video loops with about 150-160 of my images fit well with the spoken texts. It became clear that I’d have to finish editing two of the loops and change some video takes in the third one. Nevertheless, we rested assured that it would all go well and that we have a good grasp on everything. Táňa, who still remembered the opening of the Exupéry exhibition in Prague was astonished to see the installation in Liberec, especially the space with the canvases suspended in the air.
Tuesday and Wednesday, Sept 7 – 8
On Tuesday, there was an interview in the radio broadcast of Český rozhlas Liberec (if you haven’t found out about it yet, you can listen to it here:….) and on Wednesday we reviewed all the details with the Library, especially the order of events as they would take place during the opening night on the following day so that no detail would be missed.
Thursday, Sept 9th, 18:00 – THE DAY
I arrived at the spot just before three in the afternoon. Together with Honza Kozák we finished installing the equipment and the stage, prepared tables with catalogues and Monographs and took a last break to get some rest. The actors arrived together with Tomáš Vondrovic and his wife Jindřiška and did one final rehearsal reading. It was almost time to start and seeing the visitors trickling in I wondered how many people would come…
“Only 8 tickets are left” – were the director’s words and it was clear that it was going to be a big night! To me it felt like the first time I showed Mácha in the Gallery of Art Critics and 150 people came as well as the TV. There were many colleagues from my work, but most were surprised to see where they are. Since this was the first exhibition in my hometown, Liberec, many acquaintances, friends and former colleagues showed up. To sum it up in the words of one of my neighbours – we have no idea who lives next door… :-)))
There were speeches by the library director, Mrs. Petrýdesová, and Marian Beneš, the vice president of the Association of Professional Photographers which assumed patronage over the exhibition. It was launched and I was there among all the people who came.
What to say, the main hall of the Library was sold out for the performance by Tomáš Vondrovic starring Táňa Medvecká and Tomáš Pavelka in lead roles. I believe everyone enjoyed it including the actors.
During the reception for guests invited by both the sponsors the atmosphere was relaxed and I was extremely happy that neither Erste Premier nor ABB made a mistake in inviting their partners to the exhibition opening and the performance providing me with great professional support.
For this reason, I would love to thank both the library directors, Mrs Dana Petrýdesová and her predecessor Mrs. Konvalinková, for giving me this opportunity, and the whole library team led by Honza Kozák for their support during the installation. I would also like to thank SIAdesign and particularly Radim Kousal for the concept of the installation. Graphics were watched over by Josef Trakal and Ondra Musil and the pictures were printed in studio Eleven in Jablonec. I must appreciate the merit for the installation of the climbers Honza Hřežík and Míra Havrda with great support of Péťa, Honza and Eliška Starý. The performance was enabled by the support of the sponsors, ABB and Erste Premiere, and I would like to thank both their CEOs – Petr Sláma of Erste and Víťa Lukáš of ABB.
The Triptych has brought me some rare new acquaintances and friendships. After the opening night of Exupéry in Prague, where the amazing actress Táňa Medvecká consented to read extracts from the writer’s works, we agreed on a follow up and thanks to that I had the opportunity to meet the wonderful scriptwriter, director, writer, translator, and native of Liberec in one person, Mr. Tomáš Vondrovic, who introduced another great actor to the performance – Tomáš Pavelka.
Greatest thanks, however, should be expressed to the three men who were at the centre of my efforts – Karel Hynek Mácha, Hans Christian Andersen and Antoine de Saint Exupéry, for their inspiring work that they have left us, and which still has the power of enormous imagination for all of us, people with unageing childlike souls and dreams…
I am standing in front of the installed pictures; I am looking under the tie beams of the library stairwell and I am saying to myself if I will ever be able to surpass this high standard again. What I know for sure, my other exhibitions will never be just plain pictures to look at. So, keep your fingers crossed for me so that my inspiration does not “run dry”. I am looking forward to meeting you at one of my planned future events.
In Liberec 12.9.2021