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Havel v kostce (Havel in a Nutshell)

April 16, 2011

The exposition on Václav Havel - Czech Myth or Havel in a Nutshell - is open in the Montmartre Gallery (Řetězová 7, Praha 1). You can view it from Tuesdays to Sundays between 12:00 and 18:00.

American presidential libraries offer the public and schools information on individual American presidents, and, through these, on the historical epochs over which they presided. The Václav Havel Library, which is the only such institution in the Czech Republic, has opened an exhibition according to this model, documenting the life of Václav Havel and, through him, the transformation of Czech society of his and our times. The exhibition entitled “Václav Havel - Czech Myth” was temporarily housed in Hergetova Cihelna on the Lesser Side. Now it has moved to new premises and has acquired a new form as well as a new purpose.

Montmartre Gallery in Řetězová Street in the Old Town, one of the ancient centres of Prague’s Czech-German-Jewish avant-garde, favoured by Jaroslav Hašek and also Franz Kafka, has become the new location for the exhibition and at the same time the new centre of the activities of the Václav Havel Library. The new exposition has been created in two rooms on the first floor above the Montmartre Gallery. The exhibition preserves the structure of the original libretto by Martin C. Putna, pursuing individual periods of Havel's life (family and literary origins - theatre - dissent - presidency). It also maintains a set of exhibits, often unique documents from private archives. Conserved and enhanced is the element of humour and irony, without which the exhibition of Václav Havel would be exposed to the risk of becoming only a means of the “cult of personality.” Newly added, however, are the accompanying texts, also allowing historical and factographical orientation to the totally uninformed visitor without any wider historical education, the secondary school student or foreign tourist. The artistic layout of the exhibition is also new, due to the possibilities provided by the new premises.  By this means, a project that can both literally and figuratively be called “Havel in a Nutshell” has been created.

The exhibition is designed in a way which allows for the presentation of various accompanying programmes. The Václav Havel Library offers an educational programme for secondary schools and for the final years of primary schools, providing  young people, through the exhibition and through the texts of Vaclav Havel, the opportunity to study critical thinking about modern Czech history. At the same time, seminars, chronological exhibitions of photographs, documents and previews of books published by the Václav Havel Library are held in these premises. The activities of the Library began already in the autumn of 2008 - for example, it staged a performance of the Belarusian Underground Theatre and the successful show “We had Underground and now we have Zilch.” In addition, club meetings, known after the previous venue as “Amalie,” will be moved here. The rooms of the Václav Havel Library in Řetězová Street have thus become one of the new centres of Prague and Czech intellectual life.

The vernissage of the exhibition: Václav Havel - Czech Myth or Havel in a Nutshell will take place in the Montmartre Gallery in Řetězová Street 7, Praha 1 - Old Town on 16th April 2009 at 6 p.m. Ivan M. Havel will speak, Petr Putna will perform.

Hospodářské noviny is the media partner of the exhibition.

Most of the exhibits come from Václav Havel, some documents have been borrowed from the Memorial of National Literature, Theatre Institute and the Theatre Na Zábradlí. We thank you for the loans!

The project partners are the Conrad Hilton Foundation, Isifa Image Service, Theatre Na Zábradlí, National Theatre, Theatre Institute, and the Memorial of National Literature.


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