250709: WAGNER:WERK Museum Postsparkasse: cubiCZmus! The deconstruction of Modernism in Prague

WAGNER:WERK Museum Postsparkasse: cubiCZmus! The deconstruction of Modernism in Prague Ashes and Diamonds The delicate Belle-Époque-lady on the poster doesn’t really match the architecture in the background. The Kurhaus placed into the Bohemian Lázné Bohdanec by Josef Gocár is unbelievable. The fact that it resembles a silent-movie set of the early twenties is based on the easy stylistic applicability of Bohemian architectural Cubism, which of course had a bigger picture in mind: the return of pure material to crystal-prismatic basic forms. It’s all about the definition of a specific Czech style, supported by Otto Wagner students, who adamantly opposed his claim for material justice “A bowl or a can offered the opportunity of simple dramatic situations, actions, and scopes, which allowed us to realize the cubistic view and the extent of the material”, said Pavel Janák – This was the alternative for not being able to go ahead with an entire building such as the Prague “Diamond House”. A selection of these expressive cans, crystalline cookie jars, folded closets, and cubistic urns are now displayed at the PSK, which was able to draw on the top class collection of the Museum of Applied Arts in Prague. While the objects are adequately presented in Gocár’s House of the Black Madonna, their combination with the dematerialized architecture of Otto Wagner in Vienna offers an exciting interaction. Legs are folded, facades are creased and drawers expressively shifted, everything seems frozen in grotesque dance poses. To secure the objects the harassed carpenters had to implement additional stiffeners. Nourished by Bohemian Gothic and its tendency to negate statics. Architectural Cubism became the nucleus of the Czech work federation of architects and artists, which a few years later merged into the Bohemian Functionalism. Gocárs “Grand Café” in the House of the Black Madonna was carefully reconstructed a few years ago and is just as popular as the replicas of cookie jars and ashtrays, which are sold in the shop. 100 years after its foundation, Czech Cubism is a significant part of architectural history. By Iris Meder WAGNER:WERK Museum Postsparkasse 1018 Vienna, Gerog-Coch-Platz 2, until 29.08.09 www.ottowagner.com

WAGNER:WERK Museum Postsparkasse der BAWAG P.S.K.
1018 Wien, Georg-Coch-PLatz 2
Email: m.pasterk@signa.at
Öffnungszeiten: Mo-Mi, Fr 8-15, Do 8-17:30, Sa 10-17 Uhr

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