Some Prague metro stations are being turned into public art galleries. Art Behind the Line, a joint exhibition by Prague Public Transit Company (DPP) and Prague City Gallery (GHMP), has opened in four metro stations: Můstek A, Florenc B, Náměstí Republiky and Karlovo náměstí.
The exhibition runs until December 31, and a valid transit ticket or pass is needed to access the stations. More collaborations between DPP and GHMP are expected in the future.
The exhibition presents 16 works by eight artists or art groups, with two artists represented at each station. The project will present photographs of works by Jiří Kovanda, Markéta Othová, Krištof Kintera, Timo, Lucia Sceranková, Ondřej Přibyl, and the artistic duos of Lukáš Jasanský – Martin Polák and Hynek Alt – Aleksandra Vajd. The photos will be located on the walls behind the tracks.
The project is meant to bring current European trends for both temporary and permanent modern public art to Prague’s metro stations. The idea builds on the appearance of the planned stations for the metro D line having been entrusted to renowned local artists.
DPP says the installations are a tool to improve the environment that more than 1 million passengers pass through daily in ordinary times.
The stations were selected due to the empty spaces formerly used for advertising behind the tracks. The advertising rectangles will eventually be removed, but have been given a new purpose. The name of exhibition, Art Behind the Line (Umění za čarou) refers to the photos being on the other side of the safety line at the edge of the platform.
The line is not intended to be a barrier between passengers and works of art, according to a DPP press release. Guided tours are also being prepared, aimed at those interested to both the works themselves and the history and architecture of the individual stations.
The aim of the one-off project is to draw attention to the artistic, technical and visual complexity of individual metro stations, so that people appreciate their quality and in the future stand on the side of those wishing to maintain the quality of the stations, DPP stated. Funds for the exhibition were provided by the City of Prague through its Art for the City program to support contemporary art in public space.
Art in Prague metro is not a new concept. When the original stations were built in the 1970s and ’80s, public art was also part of the original plans, and a variety of sculptures, mosaics, reliefs and glass art can still be seen in the older sections though some has been destroyed over the years.
Artists for original stations included sculptor Stanislav Kolíbal, sculptor Václav Cigler, the glass art duo Stanislav Libenský and Jaroslava Brychtová, and glass artist František Vízner, among many others.