The internationally recognised Praha based art collective, Trafačka, is coming to London in their Temple of Freedom exhibition on the 1st of May. Jodie visited their base earlier in the year and was hugely impressed by the level of creativity on show with every flat wall space covered with one design or another. After this it felt only right that we follow up the visit with an interview with their Artistic Manager and Producer, Blanka, and find out a little about the project and their coming show exhibition.
First established in 2006, the exhibitional and residential complex has spent the following years developing into a well-known non-profit organisation with over 30 studios being run on site as well as playing a part in the co-organisation of much larger projects.
JS: Having so much all going on at once must create huge tasks for the admin as well as the working artists. What sort of things do you all get up to on a daily basis?
B: Hundreds of small situations are being solved every day such as finding money for supporting our program, connecting new friends, artist and curators meeting us and exhibiting with us, installing-opening-guarding-commenting-de installing new shows in our gallery or studios, renting the studio for foreign artists. And all together for 38 Czech artists in two buildings; cleaning the surrounding (never ending mess), inviting famous writers from all over the world to meet… etc. etc.
JS: With such a large number of resident artists there must be a huge range of work ongoing, what sort of things are created?
B: We are aimed to artists of all branches – they´re making painting, sculpturing, AV media and IT installations, performances, street art, graffiti, body art, looming textile, graphic design, movie animation, inventing robots, music instruments etc. etc.
JS: When I visited I really enjoyed the Graffomat writers vending machine, which dispensed all the materials required to work including gloves, masks, caps and cans. Whose concept was that and have you noticed much success from it?
B: Graffomat was made by Epos 257 for Metropolis exhibition we prepared for Shanghai, China Expo 2010. Yes, he´s pretty well known for it and other art he makes and has many offers from abroad to produces more of them. There is still catalogue which sells it.
JS: What has your biggest challenge been since Trafačka began?
B: Probably dealing with budget and some irresponsible artists. Also we don´t want to cooperate with commercial companies so we struggle with things like grants and sponsors.
Trafačka were initially only given a year’s lease on their property yet now seven years on they have survived and thrived through adversity. Having faced many threats from developers, the triangular complex is no longer nestled in bare suburb but in sprawling metropolis, the plans that once threatened it’s very existence now surrounding it, built up around it with Trafačka stood as the only bastion against urbanisation and commercialism.
If you are in the Praha area their base of operations can be found at Kurt Konrad 1 with an entrance from the street Moravian, 19000 Praha 9 – Liben or via Prague Alternative Tours, hosted by an ex member and including tickets to their own gallery.
JS: What is the street art scene looking like in Prague and where do you see it heading the future?
B: We´ve got lots of talented people who are special on the scene and some of them well known abroad so I am sure they´ll find their way to bring their art to people further afield in future as well. They are quite famous already here and are exhibiting in galleries and evolving their style very well.
JS: That’s great news, from my visit alone I could see that the scene was really growing with a few of its own very unique and talented artists! Are you excited to be coming to London, especially within the Shoreditch area which is known for its huge role in London’s graffiti scene?
B: Of course! It’s an amazing opportunity. We´ve got friends there and its a great gallery, Red Gallery London. We have many accompanying programs planned for the show. I made one exhibition there last September so I know what awaits us. Point, a Czech famous writer is also going to paint a huge mural there.
JS: do you think you could also give us a small description of what things will be happening in your exhibition?
B: We plan to show the wideness of art branches of our art residents, together with personal presence during private view and document screening on May 3rd. There will be a live performance in the beginning, a huge mural painted on the facade outside the gallery, installations inside and outside, launch of the catalogue and more. We will be like a flood around the space, everything invented and produced under one roof in Prague. The gallery is huge also so overall we will cover completely more than 400 m² with special Czech young art. Are you coming to see us?
Shaping up to be one of Trafačka’s “biggest achievements as a group” with the airing of their new documentary film “Temple of Freedom” along with DJs and live performances, Trafacka’s upcoming exhibition is looking to be a hugely promising event and a great look into Prague’s brilliant array of artists. So if you are around the Shoreditch area within the next few months consider checking out Trafačka, Temple of Freedom at the Red Gallery from May 1st.