Prague people taking a walk under Hradčany may have noticed a banner for the Montanelli Gallery which has been in Nerudova since 2003. Within the six years of its existence it has offered about thirty exhibitions of work by well-known artists. The list of artists presented here includes names such as Běla Kolářová, Hugo Demartini, Radek Kratina, Bedřich Dlouhý, Jitka Válová, Adéla Matasová, Václav Bláha and others.
For the last three years the gallery has been in the hands of the DrAK Foundation, established in 2006 by Dr. Dadja Altenburg-Kohl. Some time ago she expressed her life credo thus: “I am aware that everything is somehow inter-related, all spiritual and material values, culture and health. I want to make the most of my time and at least contribute something meaningful to this complex system.”
It was the effort of this doctor and businesswoman of truly European format which led to the reconstruction of the ground floor and basement of the existing gallery to create the museum premises.
Where streams of affection meet
The former Senator of the federal state of Berlin, Prof. Dr. Christoph Stölzl, who knows the founder of DrAK Foundation very well, said of the new museum: “The creation of Museum Montanelli is thanks to the community involvement of the doctor and businesswoman who has recognized the signs of this era. Art does not need anything as much as freedom. It is therefore important that, besides noble state institutions supporting art, there are also independent artistic initiatives of “civic society”. A Europe based on perfect rules and regulations, government programmes and directives desperately needs a counterbalance: a spontaneous and surprising Europe.
The fact that the founder of the museum feels at home in two cultures, Czech and German, is a positive sign for the future. These two cultures, symbiotically bound together for centuries, became estranged during the era of nationalism in the 19th and 20th centuries. Since 1989 all doors to new cultural friendship are again open. What can be more encouraging than artist meeting artist? The paths of art never knew any boundaries. Nowadays the distance between Prague, Vienna, Berlin and Paris can be measured by a mere thought. The important thing is that it is the right thought. Dadja Altenburg-Kohl has found such a thought. She presents contemporary art in historical context. This is the meeting point for people looking for dialog going beyond the borders of various fields. Art, literature, theatre but also a holistic view of human life in terms of medicine and ecology become frequently discussed themes here, thanks to Dadja Altenburg-Kohl and her DrAK Foundation. A magnetic focal point has been created here to bring together streams of affection.”
Beginning with an Opening
The museum began its activities with an exhibition appropriately entitled “Opening”. It represents the work of artists who intend to continue their cooperation with the museum and whose works are included in the foundation’s collections. The artists include: Bajevic, Bláhová, Chkhikvadze, Galli, Guilleminot, Hatoum, Höfer, Horn, Kolářová, Kozyra, Landau, Nieznalska, Renz, Rosenbach, Schönfeld, Siwek, Šimotová, Tanning, Trockel, Válová and Weis.
Diversity of contemporary art, both in terms of form and content, is the theme of the exhibition. The exhibited drawings, collages, paintings, sculptures and videos (from Bosnia, Ukraine, Palestine, Germany, the Czech Republic, Poland and the U.S.A.) are political, provocative and existential. The exhibition will continue until the end of January 2010.