Designers from Prague and Berlin come together in Manes exhibition

05-10-2006

Wednesday marked the beginning of a three-week exhibition of Intercity: Berlin-Prague, an annual art show dedicated to bringing together the work of the brightest young artists from Germany and the Czech Republic.

The exhibit is the third annual show in a 10-year cycle of exhibits that showcase young Czech and German artists. This year's Intercity exhibit focuses on design, and features a wide range of objects, from product packaging to furniture to fashion. The design pieces are presented on two floors of the Manes Exhibition Hall, with the work of Czech and German artists intermingled in the gallery space.

On the spacious first floor a fur hammock of the German artists known as Bless is presented alongside the streamlined Mattoni bottles of Czech artist Jan Capek. Along one wall, Czech and German phrases are spliced together.

Co-curator of the German portion of the exhibit Heike Suermann said these choices are meant to emphasize the continuities between the pieces from each country.

"You can see here some pieces from Bless, from Berlin, next to some pieces from a designer from Prague," she said. "They like this idea to mix every design so that the people are not really able to say this is Czech and this is German."

Suermann said that more German artists and designers in Berlin have been looking to Czech designers for inspiration in the past several years.

"It is of special interest to go more East in the moment," she said. "I think it's also nice for the other designers to see what the people are doing here. There is also more interest—not to go that far—but to look at the obvious neighbour."

Some of the featured works by Czech artists are Maxim Velcovsky's ceramic coin banks and Daria Podboj's wall-mounted coffee table, "Eat Me".

Three years ago Josef Vomacka founded Intercity: Berlin-Prague with the goal of fostering relationships between artists from the two cities. He said the idea behind the 10-year cycle is to create ongoing opportunities for German and Czech artists get to know each other.

Vomacka said in the past three years there hasn't been a revolutionary change in the connection between the two cities, but little by little, relationships are being forged.

Intercity: Berlin-Prague runs at the Manes Exhibition Hall until November 1, and is being shown in affiliation with the Designblok festival that's running this week at the River Diamond. It will show in Berlin next year.

05-10-2006