Drugs and Aliens. “Heroin Crystal” Exhibition in Prague Commemorates Czech Art in the 90’s

heroin crystal prague

The enduring appeal and attractiveness of the “golden nineties”, which seem to have kept the professional and wider cultural public, movers and shakers, and observers of the art scene interested to this day, is one of the reasons for creating the Heroin Crystal exhibition project.

As both a participant and witness, Olga Malá initiated, therefore, the Heroin Crystal exhibition, which maps the activities of the Prague City Gallery associated with artists of the 1990s generation in the years 1994–2002.

The exhibition is running until August 28th, 2022.

The period the exhibition focuses on is defined at the beginning of 1994, the first year of the Zvon ’94 Biennial of Young Art and at the end by its “institutional conclusion” in 2002, which saw the end of the long-term exhibition of artists of the 1990s generation, Contemporary Collection – Czech Art in the ’90s, that was featured in the basement of the Golden Ring House for four years (1998–2002).

At the same time, it is clear that the label “institutional conclusion” of the period needs to be understood only as a tentative term because the Prague City Gallery’s cooperation with artists of this generation has never been actually interrupted and continues in various forms to this day.

Milena Dopitová’s iconic installation Sixtysomething from 2003 (which will be also exhibited at the Stone Bell House) or the nostalgic exhibition Restaurant Near Hospital (Old Town Hall, 2002) by Michal Pěchouček, an artist whose work seems to be spanning between the 1990s and the next generation of the noughties, can be rather viewed as a symbolic end of the exhibition.

The title of the exhibition Heroin Crystal was inspired by Jiří Černický’s 1999 installation and photograph of the same name, which is characterized by its striking visuality with a disturbing subtext typical of the 1990s in general.

Jiří Černický: Heroin Crystal, 1995

Heroin Crystal is a project that is primarily linked to the GHMP as an institution and does not have the ambition to evaluate the 1990s; it is not a survey that comprehensively examines the events of those years. It is a collective exhibition presenting works that have been exhibited and purchased by the Prague City Gallery continuously from the 1990s to the present.

It presents the works of fifteen artists who were partcipants in exhibitions we prepared in collaboration with Karel Srp between 1994 and 2002.

The Heroin Crystal exhibition, like the memorable first biennial in 1994, is aimed at a wider public, in whose cultural consciousness the work of artists of this generation may not yet be so strongly imprinted.

The exhibition is also associated with a certain educational aspect – there is already a generation of young people who have not yet had the opportunity to see with their own eyes the legendary sci-fi installation by Veronika Bromová On the Edge of the Horizon, as one example, as well as many other key works of the time.

Veronika Bromová: From the series Pohledy, 1996, photography.


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