<h1>Czechoslovak socialist realism</h1>
<h1>Czechoslovak socialist realism</h1>
<h1>Czechoslovak socialist realism</h1>

Socialist Realism is typically associated with the Soviet visionary culture of the early years of the “first” communist state. The form of Soviet art was dictated by a political programme, which simultaneously was promising to build up a humane society through violence. Typical for the Soviet art, centrally directed as it was, became the simplified monumental form, imbued with the enthusiasm of and belief in building up a better, socialist future.

Czechoslovak culture began to follow programmatically the Soviet art of the Stalinist era after the communist coup d’état in February 1948. The art production in the spirit of Socialist Realism was guaranteed and controlled by new centrally directed artists’ organisation. The irrational, hard-edged, schematic structure of the leadership of the artists’ unions confined the natural development of Czechoslovak culture.

The exhibition “Czechoslovak Socialist Realism 1948-1958” presents in painting, sculpture, objects and documents the entire controversial decade of Czech visual art. Not only the art works and numerous, often bizarre, objects (like the examples of official presents to statesmen or applied art of the period) but also the vast accompanying programme of the exhibition dedicated to architecture, fashion, literature, or criticism and role of the media of the period, evoke from the distance of today’s perspective the decade when Socialist Realism dominated the arts and culture.

A typical feature of Socialist Realism in Central Europe is its hybrid character, which makes it difficult to grasp. This “new style” which was designed to unify culture, was causing embarrassment occasionally even at the time of its origin. Václav Černý was one of the few clear-sighted critics of the period.

In his Memories published after the World War II, he writes: “I would bow down, I would kneel in reverence in front of the one who would tell to me – before the last of the days of my life approaches – who would explain me exactly what this socialist realism is.”

Curator: Tereza Petišková

Tuesday–Sunday 10:00-18:00

Galerie Rudolfinum Club

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