Prague Valentine’s Day for the Black-Hearted

Candy and flowers not your thing? A new exhibit and accompanying film fest devoted to H.P. Lovecraft will appeal to your cruel, cruel heart

Elizabeth Zahradnicek-Haas

Written by Elizabeth Zahradnicek-Haas Published on 14.02.2017 13:34:05 (updated on 14.02.2017) Reading time: 2 minutes

Open since last spring, Trafo Gallery is a 200-square-meter exhibition hall in the Holešovická tržnice, showing the works of an artists’ collective known as Trafačka, as well as student and international artists.

If you haven’t checked out this sky-lit gallery and performance space, now is the time. Trafo has organized a number of interesting exhibits and events this month, including a mini-festival for lovers of vintage horror films that opens today.

For a true anti-Valentine’s experience, the current exhibit “Life is Painful and Brings Disappointments, Massacre, vol. 1: Lovecraft” is sure to sting (note that the gallery is open from tomorrow).

The unsettling exhibition, which opened earlier last month, is an homage to the master of modern horror, H.P. Lovecraft whose short tales of tentacular horrors and unnamable evils, have had a profound influence on contemporary practitioners of the genre as well as numerous graphic artists drawn to the books’ fantastical pulp covers.

Photos (L-R):, Facebook / trafogalerie
Photos (L-R):, Facebook / trafogalerie

Lovecraft, and horror films and books in general, were banned from Czechoslovakia in the 1970s and 1980s as too bourgeois-decadent for communist ideologues.

The exhibit is “the first attempt at mapping this topic in our country,” according to curator Otto M. Urban, who says there is a growing interest in Lovecraft’s work in the spheres of Czech film and literature.

Featured Trafo artists including Josef Bolf, Jakub Gajdošík, Stanislav Karoli, Eva Macekova, Martin Mulač, Martin Salajka, Richard Stipl, Marek Škubal, Frantisek Storm, and Jan Vytiska, bring Lovecraft’s dark vision to life via paintings, drawing, sculptures, and installations. 

Photo: Facebook / trafogalerie
Photo: Facebook / trafogalerie

Urban promises an “Atmospheric depiction of anxiety through pop wildness up to nerve-racking cruelty,” adding that “hardly any topic resonates so strongly with our present, which is also full of fear and anxiety.”

The exhibit runs through March 5.

As part of an accompanying program, the gallery has organzed, in association with the performing arts school cinema KVU, Massacre: Mini-Festival of Horror Films at Cinema Arts, which opens today at KVU in Letna and runs through Thursday.

The festival will focus on the most influential and best horror films in history, by screening three selected titles each evening across a period of three days.

Those includes selections inspired by the Lovecraft catalogue: The Haunted Palace (1963), The Dunwich Horror (1970), and Re-Animator (1985).

Admission is free.

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