Prague exhibition mixes Mucha and contemporary artist Pasta Oner

The exhibition Elusive Fusion, photo: ČTK / Vít Šimánek

A new exhibition, which got underway this week at the Kampa Museum in Prague, brings together two distinctive Czech artists, who are separated by more than a century: the Art Nouveau painter Alphonse Mucha and contemporary pop artist Pasta Oner.

Photo: ČTK / Vít Šimánek

The exhibition called Elusive Fusion marks the reopening of Prague’s Kampa Museum after more than two months of closure due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The museum is hoping that the unusual show, which brings together two distinctive Czech artists, one born in 1860 and the other in 1979, will help boost visitor numbers, which still remain very low.

Jiří Pospíšil,  photo: Czech Radio

Jiří Pospíšil is the chairman of the museum’s board of directors:

“The concept of the exhibition was created by respected art historian Karel Srp, who has a long-term interest in both Alphonse Mucha and Pasta Oner.

“He wanted to create a dialogue, or perhaps a confrontation, between these two artists, who are separated by nearly a century, yet they are using similar topics and similar techniques.”

Pasta Oner,  photo: ČTK / Vít Šimánek

The exhibition showcases over 25 best-known posters by Alphonse Mucha alongside more than a dozen paintings by Pasta Oner, one of the pioneers of the Czech graffiti scene.

Perhaps the biggest highlight of the exhibition is a lesser-known painting by Alphonse Mucha made in the year 1900 for the World Exhibition in Paris.

The large-format painting bringing together the themes of ancient and Slavic culture, was loaned from the collections of the Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague.

“According to experts, it is Alphonse Mucha’s largest work of art that he made before starting his work on the Slav Epic. So those who love Mucha should definitely come to see the exhibition, because apart from some of the notorious pieces, they will also have a chance to see a painting that hasn’t been on display for quite some time.”

Photo: ČTK / Vít Šimánek

Mr Pospíšil says the restrictions related to the coronavirus outbreak, which have closed down the museum for more than two months, have taken a hard toll. Despite the fact that the museum recently reopened, it is still facing extremely low attendance, since there are almost no foreign tourists in Prague at the moment.

“The museum is a private institution, managed by the Jan and Meda Mládek Foundation, and it is to a large extent financed by entry fees.

“It is mainly the visitors themselves who pay for the operation of the museum. So the three-month closure has obviously had a strong impact on the museum’s budget.

Photo: ČTK / Vít Šimánek

“As a result, we cannot publish as many art books as we usually do and we cannot add new pieces to our art collection. And if the coronavirus crisis continues in autumn, it will threaten the operation of the museum itself.”

The exhibition Elusive Fusion will run at Prague’s Kampa Museum until October 25.