124 hour brainstorm-painting experiment supports Liberec’s bid for European City of Culture

A team of three artists from Liberec have painted a unique picture with which they hope to support the North Bohemian city’s efforts to be selected as the European City of Culture in 2028. The 3x2.2m art piece was the result of a non-stop 124 hour painting process during which the team received ideas from onlookers.

Residents of Liberec recently received an unusual offer from a team of three artists who asked them to join an online stream and help them paint a picture in real time. One of the painters, Václav Kovář, explained the idea to Czech Radio.

“We came up with a technique of painting process that we call ‘brainstorm-painting’. In order to expand our minds, we stream the painting process and invite people to say what they think of it and contribute their own ideas via online chat. It could lead to new ideas that end up being far better than the original idea.”

Almost all of the painting that came out of the process is based around these outside inputs, he says.

The art piece features a large tree trunk in its centre, currently still without leaves. It is positioned atop a grass-covered table, with several people depicted standing or sitting around and interacting with what they see. The hinterland of the picture shows black and brown faceless buildings trailing off into the horizon with smoking chimney’s contributing to the grey sky above.

This contrasting horror scene was put into the painting intentionally, says another one of the artists Adam Windsor.

“The background of the picture tells the story of what Liberec could look like if people did not care about culture.”

Photo: Tomáš Mařas,  Czech Radio

The artists set themselves a time limit of 124 hours for the painting process and it was a tight finish. The hasty ending did not allow the team to add as much to the painting as they wanted, Windsor admitted.

“We may not have managed to portray the importance of the theme enough. Liberec’s whole candidature for becoming Europe’s City of Culture is an extensive subject by itself. We found this out when we started discussing the painting process with the people who were contributing ideas. It has a lot of layers. In order for it to comprehensively portray the whole thought process, the painting would have to be a bit more complex than we originally thought.”

The picture will now be exhibited in Liberec’s Regional Gallery.

It is not yet clear with which other European city’s Liberec will have to contend with for the City of Culture title annually awarded by the European Commission, as the deadline for applications is in November of this year. If it succeeds it will join the ranks of previous Czech title holders Prague and Plzeň.

Photo: Tomáš Mařas,  Czech Radio
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Authors: Tom McEnchroe , Tomáš Mařas
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