On August 21, 1968, Warsaw Pact troops invaded Czechoslovakia – with Soviet tanks rolling through the Czech capital signifying the end of the Prague Spring.
This month will see the fiftieth anniversary of that monumental event and the Veletržní palác arm of the National Gallery will open its doors to the public admission-free to commemorate this critical moment in Czech history.
The Opening ’68 event will also showcase three new exhibits devoted to Czechoslovak history.
The photos taken by Josef Koudelka across several dramatic days in August have become a symbol of the national tragedy and, more broadly, of any military oppression and fight for freedom.
His series of photographs have entered the canon of classic post-war reportage photography and will be exhibited along with archival footage by Jan Němec as part of the Koudelka Invasion 1968 exhibition.
Jiří Petrbok: Burning Heart will showcase, for the first time in public, artworks by a Czech painter whose motifs (banners, state symbols, intimate family themes) delve into the concept of home, from a purely personal level to a more general perception of home as it is specifically defined by a place.
The Mystery of Čapek’s Carpets, an interdisciplinary exhibition will display objects linked with Czech author Karel Čapek’s interest in Oriental rugs including the unique carpet that was the basis for his short story The Chintamani and Bird Carpet and became part of the collections of the National Gallery collection in 2014.
Live music and film will also take place on the summer stage. Details for the event can be found here.