Typewriters, keys, and vinyl records: Prague Airport gets unique Václav Havel exhibit

The artist wanted to display the many and differing parts of the late Czech president's life, including his time as a playwright and writer.

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 04.11.2023 17:00:00 (updated on 05.11.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

If you find yourself in Terminal 2 of Prague's Václav Havel Airport, you'll most likely come across a large-scale portrait of an iconic figure that the airport itself is named after. An exhibition of former Czech president Havel's head – made up of thousands of objects connected to his life – examines his past and will be on display for a year.

Czech sculptor Patrik Proško is behind the intricate piece. Known for his anamorphic works, his main aim was to highlight the former president's non-politics-based identity.

Original items from Havel's life

The installation incorporates typewriters, books, stationery, dial telephones, beer kegs, coasters, vinyl records, recording equipment, keys symbolizing the Velvet Revolution, and – of course – the Czech flag.

In total, Proško gathered an impressive 3,000 items over the course of four months to compose the final piece. 

The importance of meaning and perspective

Notably, viewers can only capture the complete image from a specific position, as from other angles, the installation transforms into an apparently random arrangement of disparate objects. As Proško pertinently points out: “The right point of view is important for the exhibit – just like in life.”

"Above all, I wanted to emphasize what Havel was most: a writer and a playwright. That's why there are a lot of typewriters and stationery. His words were also the keys to revolutionary change – that's why the installation contains a lot of keys in his mouth."

Artist Patrik Proško

The artist has previously created portraits of notable figures such as businessman Tomáš Bata, inventor Nikola Tesla, and composers Bedřich Smetana and Antonín Dvořák. To craft these unconventional creations, he meticulously collects objects related to the subject's legacy and life story.

Proško’s work can also be seen in Prague’s Illusion Art Museum, which partners with the artist. The new Havel display was created as part of his partnership with this institution. “We mainly create portraits of important Czech personalities who influenced the development of our country in a fundamental and entirely positive way. Václav Havel is undoubtedly one of the most important," Proško says.

Proško's creation invites viewers to delve into Václav Havel's multifaceted life and legacy, and it is only fitting that it is placed in an airport named after the late Czech president.

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