LATERNA MAGIKA: (De)construction and (Re)invention

14. 5. 2019 – 21. 5. 2019

House of Arts

Curators: Kateřina Svatoňová, Lucie Česálková
Architect: Zbyněk Baladrán

Note 1: This exhibition does not aim to reconstruct Laterna Magika’s productions or the history of Czech theater. To us, Laterna Magika is a multifaceted phenomenon: an institution, a political affair, an invention, a (multi)medium, a format, an art discipline, a variety show, and a critical practice.
This exhibition aims to show the individual facets of Laterna Magika, its deconstruction and reintroduction.

Through deconstruction, we reveal the basic principles behind the multimedia mechanism of Laterna Magika, looking beyond the image/theater, beyond the compact illusion, and thus dismantling the carefully synchronized machine into its individual components. This is the only way to approach the foundations upon which Laterna Magika is built, to comprehend the essence of the multimedia performance, its possibilities and limits, to simulate a multisensory experience for the viewers and to address several issues which have emerged throughout the history of the experimental scene of the National Theater, such as: political representation, the institutional background, promotion, the memory of experimentation and the role of artists in the Normalization era. Deconstruction goes hand in hand with reintroduction, which constitutes a basis for the spatial solution of the individual installations while also being embedded in the new art projects which merge with the archival materials and show Laterna Magika as a medium or format with many potentialities.

Note 2: This exhibition is based on film scenes made for Laterna Magika.
The curated selection is not based on an imaginary auditorium anda complex performance but literally goes behind the scenes: to the movable scenery, the projection room. The exhibition thus presents neither set design models nor live actors; quite the opposite. Instead it looks “beyond” the individual productions, exploring moving image clips and various “backstage” accompanying materials.

Note 3: This exhibition does not aspire to present the complex history of Laterna Magika.
Rather, we present several case studies which illustrate selected phenomena of Laterna Magika (such as surrounding the viewers with images, splitting a single screen into fragments, the tendency towards illusiveness and virtuality) while outlining the development of the multimedium.

The research is funded by the Programme for Support of Applied Research and Experimental Development for National and Cultural Identity 2016–2022 (NAKI II)


House of Arts

Malinovského nám 2


Exhibition Opening: 21. 5. 2019