We hadn’t been to Dox Centre for Contemporary Art in about a year, and now we wonder what our problem has been?!? This is such a great museum on a number of different fronts: The size (lots of exhibits ongoing at once); the variety (paintings, sculpture, installations, photos, etc); and the freshness of it all. Dox opened in 2008 and is a maze of floors, levels, towers, outdoor space and more. It’s industrial – cement floor, white walls, lots of windows – which means nothing takes away from the art itself. Housed in a complex of former industrial buildings and connected with new structures, the building is as much a reason to visit as what is housed inside.
The ever evolving exhibitions means there’s something new on seemingly every month. Currently, the main reason to visit is the excellent Martin Parr photo exhibition (through May 16.) Parr’s use of bright, almost garish colors and varying perspectives makes his work stand out. Leisure, consumption and communication are his primary themes, and here they are displayed by series: Riviera, England, Germany, Mexico, etc. People, food, daily lives – this is basic photography turned on its side. The Bored Couples series is brilliant, showing men and women sitting together but with an atmosphere of aloneness. Parr is also an avid collector and there are large display cases filled with whimsical icons of pop culture, like a variety of Margaret Thatcher paraphernalia, matchbooks depicting Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden saying “Reward,” and lots of watches and clocks.
At the top of the tower, visit Juan Garaizabal’s “Wandering Church” (through April 18) a steel structure, light and acoustical installation. Don’t forget to step outside on the terrace near the café for a closer glimpse at the “Shoe Christ” (through March 31) by Petr Motyčka, a crucifix made entirely out of discarded shoes. Also outside is “Tour 2010.” A transformed tour bus, you can climb onboard and watch the documentary “Battered Bride.” The front of the bus is obscured, which prevents a view of where the bus would be going, even though “passengers” can see where they are.
Michal Cimala’s “Shift” (through March 7) is homage to sleek and sexy guitars, ones that are more suited to hanging on a wall than making music. His exhibition is a mix of visual and sound elements; urban and industrial, design and free art.
This is a brief round-up of what you can see at Dox in the coming weeks and months. If you like contemporary art, or even if you are unsure of it and want to experience something different, be sure to visit Dox during your stay in Prague. It should be a highlight of your trip!
Photos courtesy of Dox