Prague Quadrennial 2023
The 15th edition of the Prague Quadrennial, presenting two Polish projects: “Look Around” as part of the Exhibition of Countries and Regions and “Asylum” as part of the Student Exhibition, will begin on 7 June 2023. They are both produced by the Zbigniew Raszewski Theatre Institute.
The Prague Quadrennial (PQ) is the world’s largest event dedicated to theatre scenography and set design for the performing arts. The 15th edition of the PQ will be held on 7-18 June on the premises of the historic Prague market (in the Holešovice district), which once served as the city’s slaughterhouse.
The PQ 2023 programme, which was developed by an international team of curators headed by artistic director Markéta Fantova, features more than three hundred works by artists from more than 100 countries. Two main exhibitions, namely the Exhibition of Countries and Regions and the Student Exhibition, are held as competitions. In addition, the PQ consists of eight other programme sections. Each section presents scenography and set design from a different perspective.
The motto of this year’s Exhibition of Countries and Regions is “RARE Visions”. The formula of the Polish pavilion created for the international exhibition by a collective of creators: Zuzanna Berendt, Ludomir Franczak, Magdalena Franczak, Michał Fronk, Anna Majewska, Sára Märc, and Ida Ślęzak is reflected in the term “crossroads”. It represents a meeting point for various research and artistic paths that lead to the creation of installations and audio walks and is a site serving as the starting point for the audience to begin to experience the space that extends beyond the exhibition halls.
This is how the pavilion creators inspired by the space of the market describe their project: “’Look around’ is the phrase that started the process of getting to know this place, and was then developed through collective work. We wanted not only to look around the site of the former slaughterhouse, but also to feel its smell, the texture of the walls of its buildings, and its audiosphere. All these ways of experiencing the space and thinking with it have influenced the main directions of research and artistic activities we are pursuing in creating the exhibition. They concern animal-human relationships and histories, food production, multi-sensory, embodied and attentive being in a space, and the skin as a zone of contact, a surface of feeling and communication.”
On 8 June at 16:00, a meeting in the form of a collective lecture with the creators of the Polish Exhibition of Countries and Regions will be held in Room 1.12 in Hall 13 at the Holešovice Market. The talk (held in English) will focus on collective artistic practices.
As part of the numerous events held as part of the PQ 2023, the organisers are handing over one of the exhibition spaces to young artists. In 2023, the theme of this programme section of the event is “RARE Stories of Unique Places”. The author of the Polish exhibition is Ksenia Makala who will present her project entitled “Asylum”.
This is how the author describes her work:” After the outbreak of full-scale aggression against Ukraine, new awareness of threats and lack of control became dominant aspects in Poles’ lives. Daily reports of the war caused intense anxiety. The “Asylum” project is an attempt to create a safe space. The roof functions as a shelter that spreads over pedestrians. It provides shade, protects against rain, and interacts with external weather conditions – it can change with the wind, and gain transparency by catching the sun’s rays. It also forms a contrasting and unexpected shape within the existing architectural environment. The multidimensionality of the interpretation of ASYLUM forms creates a space which allows for diverse responses from the participants. “Asylum” can appear to be an alien, disturbing element which undermines laws of gravity and stability.”
Poland will also showcase a project at the Fragments II section of the PQ 2023, which will be presented on the fifth floor of the Trade Fair Palace of the National Gallery in Prague. A model from the play “Life and Death of Janina Węgrzynowska” by Ludomir Franczak will be presented there.
Two publications published by the Zbigniew Raszewski Theatre Institute i.e. “Zmiana Ustawienia: Historia polskiej scenografii teatralnej i społecznej XX i XXI wieku” [Changing the Setting. History of Set Design in Polish Theatre and Society in the 20th and 21st Centuries] edited by Dorota Buchwald and Dariusz Kosiński and “Reclaimed Avant-garde: Spaces and Stages of Avant-garde Theatre in Central-Eastern Europe”, edited by Zoltán Imre and Dariusz Kosinski, were shortlisted for the Best Publication Award for the best publication in the field of scenography and set design for the performing arts.
For more information about the Prague Quadrennial and the presence of Polish artists at the event, visit the website dedicated to the Polish presence at the: