The project is a reflection on what we consider to be an important component and dominant element of public space and how we perceive some hidden spaces, which social and cultural activities provide us.
The Baroque Samson’s Fountain located on the Square of Přemysl Otakar II in České Budějovice is one of the largest of its kind in the country and is a significant monument and symbol of the city.
Its artistic quality is indisputable and currently none of us can imagine the square without this dominant landmark, but the question can be whether we do not perceive such landmarks today already only inadvertently.
We walk past them every day and thanks to their value being historically and spatially confirmed we do not think any longer on the nature of this monument or on the relationship to the space of the generous square. On the contrary, the spaces of the first floor of the House of Art, which in recent years offers very attractive artistic experiences, are hidden from our sight.
A visitor who does not know the situation can hardly find the gallery. It is clear that a certain form of the concealment of the space of the gallery can be also an advantage, nevertheless the however, the experience of the exhibition and any discussion on art and culture is disappearing from our normal daily repertoire.
The project tries to show how we perceive or do not perceive landmarks and hidden places, which are not far from one another, are in the centre of affairs and offer cultural activities. The idea should be to break down our stereotypical perception of such values and the effort for reflection and discussion on these themes.
Samson’s Fountain for roughly three weeks found itself in a circular space, which separated it from the actual square and at the same time created a calm background and intimacy for it, which this dominant landmark had never had.
The fountain this found itself a jewel in the gallery. The circular space was directly connected by a path with steps to the space of the first floor of the House of Art, where again a circle appeared but in another context. The visitor could move in the space of the gallery only in the limited circular path and did not actually get to the free spaces of the gallery.
The deliberate theft of the fountain and highlighting of entrance to the House of Art through the window is the whole idea of the project. Things which seemingly are not related thus come into an interesting confrontation.
This exhibition does not stand only on the basis of our own artistically architectural interventions, but was also complemented with the participation of guests from the ranks of specialists, artists, architects and politicians – by a block of lectures and discussion programmes for the public relating to the past and present of the square and its usage, as well as the relationship of contemporary art and architecture. Source by Jan Šépka.
- Location: České Budějovice, Czech Republic
- Architect: Jan Šépka
- Cooperation: Jan Bárta
- Curator: Michal Škoda
- Year: 2016
- Photographs: Jan Šépka, Tomáš Malý, Courtesy of Jan Šépka
Article by Marco Rinaldi