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On the occasion of the 125th anniversary of the Prague Market foundation the door of the Holešovice Hall no. 11 was to be opened and in the authentic environment the FORUM’88: The boundaries of space exhibition, reminding the eponymous event of the end of the 1980’s, was to take place. Just like all the other cultural events, even our Forum’88 exhibition was cancelled due to government restrictions. All along with the artists we invite you to visit at least our website where we provide the information on Forum’88 along with the documentary photographs of the day, interviews with the participating artists and the original exhibition catalogue from 1988.

FORUM’88 exhibition. Boundaries of art within space.

The Forum’88 exhibition took place between September 8th and October 4th 1988 in Hall no. 11, former slaughterhouse and cabbage market in the Prague Market initiated by Jiří Sozanský, Theodor Pištěk and art theorist Josef Hlaváček. It has played a key role in further art development after 1989 and further forming of art groups such as “Zaostalí” / “The Backwards”. In the time of growing defiance against the ruling regime of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic the presented works represented an expression of free art making which strongly impacted even the public.

In the Prague Market’s Hall no. 11, thirty-four Czech and Slovakian artists of various generations have exhibited their works, usually created for this particular space and event. FORUM’88 has been approached as an intergenerational comparison of expressive directions of contemporary Czech art with the focus on the “art of environment” and it has drawn a great interest among the many of its visitors. More than 900 people have attended the opening and in the following days there have been 3000 more visitors – all that in spite of the negative reviews published in the national paper Rudé Právo and the Czechoslovak Television. Besides all, we can assign these numbers to the desire to express personal opinions and opposition to the policies of the ruling regime. FORUM’88 has thereby gained its irreplaceable role next to other social movements’ manifestations that have resulted in the Velvet Revolution in 1989.

FORUM’88 Today

The end of the 1980’s marked a crucial breaking point between the current democracy and the communist regime, that had been significantly stifling human freedom. The artists of the end of the 1980’s have created their works under the spirit of the changes to come with the Velvet Revolution. The FORUM’88 exhibition has not only showcased the works of the unofficial direction artists united by their political views but also the setting made it exceptional. Prague represented an art center where it was not possible for the artists refused by the regime to display officially.

The generation born after 1989 has had no chance to witness the atmosphere of the era. Not only for that reason is it important to remember the heritage of the Forum’88 exhibition today. Besides the art installations, sculptures, and paintings, the unique “art of environment” works which were a unique artists’ reaction to the space of the former slaughterhouse were to be seen in Hall no. 11. These objects, usually created out of unsteady materials especially for this occasion have faced divergent fates after the end of Forum’88. Many have perished, and these that have been preserved, we can find either in Czech or foreign art collections or in basements and attics and the artists’ studios. Today the original face of the works is to be seen in the original catalogue, and the atmosphere of the whole event can be supplemented by the documentary photographs by Hana Hamplová. The most notable contribution of today’s Forum’88 are interviews with the contemporary witnesses, artists and theorists which have been made especially for this occasion.


Václav Bláha

Jiří Načeradský

Hana Purkrábková

Jiří Sozanský

Jiří Sopko

Jaroslava Severová

Michael Rittstein

Svatopluk Klimeš

Kurt Gebauer

Stanislav Kolíbal

Hana Hamplová


Artists and curators: studentky Ústavu pro dějiny umění – Eliška Nováková, Anastázie Polishkina, Sabrina Wiedermannová, Hana Havlíčková

Architect: Michael Čambor

Video: Klára Nováková, Kateřina Hroníková, Miroslav Burýšek

Graphics: David Babka, Marek Bulíř

Production & contact person: Anastázie Slavíček

Web: Nathan Němec

Výstava se koná pod záštitou starosty městské části Praha 7 Mgr. Jana Čižinského a pod záštitou děkana Filozofické fakulty Univerzity Karlovy doc. PhDr. Michala Pullmanna, Ph.D.

Projekt je realizován s finanční podporou hlavního města Praha.