Baroque Troja Castle joins forces with Signal Festival to illuminate St. Lucy's Day

The free-to-enter, two-day display will present four light installations inside the castle and out from Dec. 12. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 06.12.2023 15:00:00 (updated on 08.12.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

Get ready for a different kind of holiday light spectacle. The Gallery of the Capital City of Prague (GHMP) and Signal Festival have announced a free light exhibition set to take place on Dec. 12 and Dec. 13 from 5 p.m. until midnight at Troja Castle.

The special-edition winter illumination marks the Feast of Saint Lucy, which folklore associates with the longest night of the year. The project also aims to combine the elegance of the castle’s Baroque style with contemporary light-based art, presenting the architectural intricacy of the castle and its gardens in a fresh perspective.

"We have always tried to ensure that the Troja Castle offers as many activities as possible and is open to every viewer and visitor. We want to create, or rather we are creating, an environment that expands the original concept of a baroque castle with the latest forms of art," said Magdalena Juříková, director of GHMP which oversees Troja Castle.

Different illuminations, various meanings

Visitors to the event will be able to explore four light installations throughout the castle grounds, two exterior and one interior exhibit. The first – entitled Event Horizon by Czech visual artist Karel Šimek – illustrates a black hole in the galaxy.

A second exhibit created by artists Chris Salter and Alexandre Saunier from Switzerland and France respectively is a sizable light and sound installation set on the castle grounds, inspired by Hungarian photographer László Moholy-Nagy's 1920s experimentation with illuminated moving images.

It consists of a sequence of gradually shifting light visuals altered by lenses connected to five mobile lights. 

Photo: Signal Festival
Photo: Signal Festival / Gallery of the Capital City of Prague

Ghost in the Machine made by Czech designer Klára Horáčková, is a moving setup comprising a framework and large, multi-sided cylinders covered with reflective surfaces. These cylinders rotate in a pattern, giving the impression that they are slowly advancing towards the audience. Projected images will be displayed on the cylinder facets and reflect onto the spectators. 

Finally, the Collector exhibit by Czech light, design, and sound artist Jan Poš, focuses on the relationship between water and energy. Based on a fountain at Troja Castle, the temporary light installation serves as a metaphor for the non-stop flow of water, which provides energy.

St. Lucy: Bringing light into darkness

The night between Dec. 12 and Dec. 13 was believed to be the longest night of the year in early modern times, a night when powerful and supernatural forces were at work.

Technically, however, Dec. 21 (the winter solstice) marks the shortest day and longest night of the year – and the first day of astronomical winter.

The Prague event will notably take place during another festival of light, Hanukkah, the Jewish holiday that begins this year on Dec. 7 and ends on Dec. 15.

St. Lucy's Day honors Lucia of Syracuse, a 4th-century martyr living in current-day Italy. Legend has it that she brought aid to Christians in Roman catacombs, wearing a candle-lit wreath to light her way. The day is widely observed in Scandinavia, Italy, and Saint Lucia.

The Feast of Saint Lucy exhibition comes two months after the annual Signal Festival, a showcase of light-based and visual artwork set in Prague museums, gardens, and other public spaces that has welcomed more than 4.5 million spectators in its 11-year existence.

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