At the moment, you can admire four of the six planned installations with another two to be installed in February and April. Probably the most striking is the sculpture in Jan Palach Square, which was made by the Spanish artist, Jaume Plensa. The five metre tall piece carries the title “We” and it is made up of various floodlit letters, such as Roman letters, Russian alphabet, and Chinese, Japanese, or Hindi letters. They express the artist’s belief that, at some point in the future, the whole world will be unified. Apart from this idea, the artist also became inspired by the interaction of the Square and the Rudolphinum and the Faculty of Philosophy buildings.
The next piece is a light image of a dancing girl that can be found on the National Theatre. It was made by the British artist, Julian Opie, a man who is no stranger to Prague. Last summer his two light figures, Suzanne and Bruce, were “walking” along the weir by Sova’s Mills. This time he brought a digitally animated girl called Ann, who spends all night dancing. Its location wasn’t left to chance as the author aimed for the juxtaposition of the old sculptures and new art.
The American artist, Arthur Duff, used love letters written by his own parents. He projects them on the walls of the old houses on the Old Town Square, giving the place a new dimension.
The fourth installation may take Praguers by surprise as it consists of mice running about the face of the building in Dušní Street. It was brought to Prague by the German artist, Stephan Reusse, and it aims to demonstrate the overall transience of all things.
The remaining pieces are still in the pipeline. In the beginning of February, the word “Tacet” will be projected on the ice-aprons by Novotného lávka. The word is in fact a musical term that indicates that an instrument does not play for a long period of time. The artist, Ulla Rauter, created a mechanism which lights up the word whenever the city goes quiet, drawing people’s attention to the reality of silence.
The project will be complete in April when a light show prepared by Jenny Holzer will take place close to the National Museum.
In charge of the project is the agency w.art project, which specialises on taking art from exhibition halls into open areas. The event is under the auspices of Prague Mayor Pavel Bém.
Who Are the Artists Involved in the Transparency 2009 Project?
Jaume Plensa (Spain)From 7th January to 30th June, Jaume Plensa will present his latest sculpture WE in Jan Palach Square, opposite the Rudolphinum.
WE is a 5 metre tall, white coated, sculpture weighing 2,700 kilograms and was cut out from stainless steel using laser beam technology. The piece is composed of letters that form the shape of a human body with an open front side. The letters come from various languages: Roman, Hebrew, Arabic, Russian, Hindu, Greek, Chinese and Japanese. The original idea was to create a visual statement of belief in the possibility of peace and understanding between all nations of the world. His artworks pay tribute to the human body as the perfect architectural form that provides a shelter to the soul, dreams and desires. He often works with transparent materials, light and sound. Plensa was born in 1955, lives in Barcelona and stands amongst the most eminent contemporary Spanish artists. In 1997, he won international acclaim with his great exhibitions and public projects, such as the remarkable Crown Fountain for the Millennium Park in Chicago (2004).
Exhibitions (selection): 2008 - Jaume Plensa, Frederik Meijer Sculpture Park, Grand Rapids, Michigan; Save our Souls, Albion Gallery, London. 2007 - Jaume Plensa, Musée d’Art Contemporain, Nice; Jaume Plensa, Institut Valencia d’Art Modern, Valencia; Nomade, Musée Picasso, Antibes; Barcelona 1947–2007, Fondation Marguerite et Aimé Maeght, Saint Paul de Vence; Silent Voices, Museum at Tamada Projects, Tokyo.
Julian Opie (Great Britain)
will, from 7th January to 30th June, introduce his project called ANN, DANCING – the dancing figure will be appearing on an LED panel that will be placed on one of the National Theatre’s widows overlooking Národní třída.
Julian Opie ranks among internationally recognised contemporary artists. He was born in 1958, and lives and works in London. Opie graduated from Goldsmith College of Art and early in his career he exhibited in London and Cologne. His artworks can be seen in the most prominent art collections and museums around the world such as: The Tate Modern and The National Portrait Gallery in London, MoMA in New York, MOMAT in Tokyo, Stedelijk Museum v Amsterdam, Lisson Gallery and ICA in London, Kunstverein in Cologne and in Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain. He manipulates computer animations, sound and LED screens to convey his striking artwork. A broad spectrum of inspirational sources, such as classic portraiture and sculpture and Japanese Manga comics, are used, which compliment a similarly broad spectrum of media and technology.
By reducing imagery to its quintessential form he creates a unique character to his work which is most apparent on his portraiture. His light installations include the transmission of photographs or short movies into dynamic figurative expression, which are created by means of computer animation. New perspectives to image and form, combined with the use of modern materials, reflect his connection with the contemporary world and are represented in his illustrations. In 2001, Julian Opie won the prize for best illustration, which was awarded by the Music Week magazine for his cover design of the British band Blur’s CD. In April and May 2007, w.art projects introduced Opie’s work in Prague in the form of two animated LED displays with animated walking figures, Bruce and Suzanne, at the weir close to the Charles Bridge, and by the exhibition in Museum Kampa.
Stephan Reusse (Germany)
will be projecting his light installation called Mice on the face of the Academy in Dušní Street, close to the Spanish Synagogue, from 7th January to 30th (daily 8PM-1AM). Reusse’s artworks deal with the topics of perception and memory. This installation is about mice that take over our homes at night. A laser beam projects their silhouettes and depicts the movements of these animals. The schematic drama is based on an analysis of infrared recordings of real mice; the resultant patterns of their movements are transformed into a dynamic mix of real time visual recordings and digital animation.
The light show Mice is noted for being naturalistically hectic, timidly hesitant and full of restless movement, which also parodies everyday human activity. The Mice in their non physical ephemeral form represent a metaphor of transience in that the moment a person thinks they see them they are already a memory. By drawing on our experience, our memory builds up the image of mice, even though we can’t see them as the full image doesn’t exist. All it was is just a few scattered lines that evoke the image; memories are created even though they only draw on a simulated depiction of our reality in a semi-abstract and subliminal form. In many of his works he uses technical transformation in order to stimulate the imagination to reach the world of unconscious memories. The images arise within the spectator. By drawing on memories he infuses meaning into the images. Stephan Reusse was born in 1954, and lives in Cologne. In 1997 he was the guest at Villa Romana. From 2000 to 2006, he was teaching photography and new media at the Art Media School in Cologne. Among his most esteemed “Art on Buildings” projects ranks the laser screenings in Münster, Toronto, Vancouver and Shanghai.
Arthur Duff (USA)
will introduce the light projection called Love Letters in Old Town Square, from 7th January until 1st February, every evening from 6PM to 12PM. He will be projecting the letters on the buildings, one example is:
DARLING WAVE MY CONFUSION FLATLY BRUSHES YOUR BIGOTED IDENTITY. YOU ARE MY MATURE BOD. MY NEED PROPERLY LAUGHS AT YOUR HOSTILE PERSPECTIVE. MY SUBJECTIVE PAST SCRATCHES YOUR DIFFERENCE. MY DARLING FANTASY HURRIEDLY STARTS YELLING FOR YOUR WARNING. YOURS MYSTERIOUSLY.
The texts are the result of the juxtaposition of extracted words from love letters written by his parents more than thirty years ago. For his installation he uses Christopher Strachey’s Love Letters program, which was designed in 1952 for Manchester Mark to randomly generate love letters. Arthur disassembled his parent’s letters into groups of verbs, adverbs, nouns and adjectives and with these verbal units he subsequently reassembled them into the form of poems generated by Strachey's program. The resulting messages will be projected on the Old Town Square using a high-powered green laser with a puzzling yet captivating effect. In the artwork “Love Letters”, Arthur Duff focuses on the individual process of interpretation triggered by randomly generated text, which enables spectators to give the message their own meaning. Arthur Duff was born in 1973 in Wiesbaden to American parents. His family often moved, and he lived in various countries, such as the USA, South Korea, Germany, Japan, and Italy. He has been active on the Italian contemporary art scene. Currently he lives in Venice and works in Marghera where he has a studio. He has been presented in the recent shows: The Word in Art – Research and the Avant-garde in the 20th century, in the Modern and Contemporary Art Museum of Trent and Rovereto; he also presented his projects for XIV Quadrenniale in Rome, and the GAM and the Palazzo delle Papesse in Siena. His most recent project, Borrowing You, was displayed in Castelfranco Veneto where he installed a huge laser that projected “borrowed words” from the city’s citizens onto the buildings of the medieval city centre. Huff currently works for Galica Arte Contemporanea in Milan and Studio La Cittá in Verona; he regularly participates on major international art fairs with both of them. He worked on the Peggy Museum’s didactic project, and contributed to the innovative educational approach that was implemented in the newly C4-Contemporary Culture Centre in Caldogno.
Ulla Rauter (Austria)
She will present her TACET on the Vltava River, by the Bedřich Smetana Museum. You will be able to enjoy her installation daily from the onset of dusk until midnight. The word TACET refers to acoustic pauses; she utilizes the urban background noise to create a kind of unwritten score. The illumination of the text becomes a visual accent to the rarely noticed moments of peace when the near constant urban noise level ceases. TACET is an instruction to be quiet, leading to questions: Who should be and who is quiet? It is aimed at a none-present music making subject, or at the collective of noise producing things and animals that are all struggling to win the battle to be heard. Ulla Rauter was born in 1980, and currently works in Vienna. Between 2000 and 2002, she studied at the Graphic Design College in Vienna and attended the master class of communicative design at the same school. Since 2003, she has been studying trans-media art at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna, in the class of Professor Brigitte Kowanz.
Scholarship of the Karl-Anton-Wolf-Foundation whilst conducting the fist Ö1 talent scholarship, Vienna, 2008; Sound of Art, Museum der Moderne, Salzburg, 2008; Parasite-Paradise, Collection Esterházy, Burg Forchtenstein, 2008; "Sensationen", Performance-Abend, University for Applied Arts, Vienna, 2008 Lightness of Action, Nitrianska Galéria, Nitra 2008; Performance, Kunsthalle Project Space Vienna, 2007; Projektionen im öffentlichen Raum, Heiligenkreuzerhof, Vienna 2007; Sculpture Grande, Generation Next, Prague 2007; 1. prize, competition "Gedenksymbol Servitengasse 1938", 2007; "Christian Eisenberger" Gruppenausstellung Galerie Lisi Hämmerle, Bregenz, 2006; "1wand" MAK Stiegenhaus, Vienna, 2005; The Essence, MAK, Vienna 2005; "Natalagranagranata", Galerie Schloß Porcia, Kärnten, 2004.
Jenny Holzer (USA)
Jennny Holzer will project her light installation on the façade of the National Museum between 30th April and 6th May. She prepared a projection of extracts of Franze Kafka and Wislawy Szymborska’s poems especially for Prague. Jenny Holzer was born in 1950 in Ohio, she currently lives and works in Hoosick, New York. For more than a decade, light installations have been integral to her work. In 1996, she created her first large scale project when she projected texts on the Battle of Nations Monument in Leipzig. Currently she favours giant film projections, the first one was introduced at Biennale di Firenze: il Tepo e la Moda Florencia, in 1996. Holzer’s projections have taken place in four continents, fourteen countries, and more that thirty cities, including Florence, Rome, Rio de Janeiro, Venice, Oslo, Buenos Aires, Berlin, Paris, Singapore, San Diego and New York. Her light installations have appeared in significant architectural buildings such as the Miese van der Rohe Gallery and Daniela Liebeskind’s Jewish Museum to I.M.Peie Pyramid in Louvre. On top of that, she has placed her installations on mountains above Rio de Janeiro, Siene and Arno river and the ski jump Lillehammer. One of her most extraordinary projects took place in September 2007, when she projected speeches made by presidents John F. Kennedy and Theodor Roosevelt from the Kennedy Centre onto Roosevelt Island in Washington, D.C.