GALLERY: Forgotten photos of the Velvet Revolution go on display in Prague

A unique photography exhibition of rediscovered footage, 'The Stifled City 68-89' will be on view at CAMP from Nov. 17-19. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 17.11.2023 10:00:00 (updated on 19.11.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

Captivating narratives woven into authentic images of a city's transformative journey will be shown at the Center for Architecture and Urban Planning (CAMP). In honor of the Velvet Revolution's anniversary, the center will showcase for three days the poignant stories encapsulated in rediscovered photographs by Czech photographers Karel Bucháček and Miroslav Hlaváček.

From Nov. 17 to 19, visitors can see the exhibition The Stifled City 68-89, where forgotten snapshots from the years 1968 to 1989 will be on display, capturing the essence of everyday life in Prague – from bustling streets and joyous celebrations to poignant demonstrations and the monumental moments of the Velvet Revolution. This evocative projection is inspired by the eponymous book penned by photographer and historian Tomáš Pospěch.

During the era of communist rule in Czechoslovakia, Bucháček and Hlaváček faced restrictions on publicly showcasing their work. Now, their rediscovered and authentic photographs, once hidden in a family garage, offer sensitive and compelling documentation of life in the city. The book and exhibition are thoughtfully organized into six thematic sections, spanning the years from 1968 to 1989.

Štěpán Bärtl, the head of CAMP, spoke about the institution's deep connection to the project: "We were drawn to the book 'The Stifled City' and wanted to actively participate in the Nov. 17 events this year. CAMP's ideal location between Albertov and Národní třída adds a special resonance to the exhibition. In conjunction with the event, we have organized a discussion featuring Pospěch, along with Bucháček's friends Josef Husák and Josef Zink from the Město group."

Bucháček, renowned for documenting the 1968 Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia, later turned his lens on life in a burgeoning housing estate, urban redevelopment projects, protests in 1988-89, and the pivotal moments of the Velvet Revolution. While many of his Prague diary photos have never been individually exhibited before, they will now see the light of day for the first time at the CAMP showcase.

Hlaváček, Bucháček's friend and collaborator, also contributes to this visual tapestry. Pospěch, motivated in part by their exceptional footage from August 1968 – reminiscent of Josef Koudelka's work – curated the book to document dramatic events through beautifully composed, sometimes metaphorical images. The revelation of Hlaváček's photos adds a layer of depth to the collaborative story behind these captivating visuals.

NOTE: The Stifled City takes place at The Center for Architecture and Urban Planning (CAMP) exhibition from Nov. 17 to 19 from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Prague Tomorrow: The City and the River will be on hold from Nov. 16 to 19.

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