The Moravian Gallery together with the Jindřich Chalupecký Association and the finalists of this year’s Jindřich Chalupecký Prize comes with a project using renewable sources of energy to power the finalists’ exhibition in the Pražák Palace. The installation will be connected to a temporary photovoltaic power station set up on the foundations of the Janáček Cultural Centre which is being constructed nearby. The organisers see this project as an important contribution to the current debate on the climate change. The exhibition opening will take place during the Week of Climate Action (20–27 September).

The Moravian Gallery and the Jindřich Chalupecký Association have signed the appeal to declare the state of climate emergency with which cultural organisations approached the Prague City Council and the Brno City Council earlier this year. However, both institutions did not want to be mere signatories; they wanted to act. Together, they started to ask: Do our activities have a negative impact on the environment? What is the carbon footprint of exhibitions? How much energy is needed to power an exhibition, and how much CO2 does it produce? Can renewable sources of energy, for example, from solar panels, be a viable alternative for the run of a gallery? Is it enough to switch to “green” energy or will it be necessary to change the established standards, even if this might mean that artists and curators will have to modify their demands concerning the presentation of art and be more modest?

“The idea put forward by some exhibiting artists first sounded really crazy,” says Jan Press, Director of the Moravian Gallery in Brno, “but I consider modern art a laboratory in which the future is tested.” The exhibition of the finalists of the 30th year of the prestigious prize awarded to young artists will be powered by some sixty solar panels, the output of which will guarantee the smooth run of the show. An independent energy distribution system has been installed in the gallery; it will power the lighting of the exhibition rooms as well as any projections and further devices needed for the presentation of the artworks. This will be possible thanks to the collaboration with the FitCraft Energy company from Valašské Meziříčí which has loaned its photovoltaic technology to the gallery. According to Martin Dorazil, the company secretary, the estimated capacity of the temporary solar power station will be able to power the exhibition even on less sunny days that can be expected with the approaching autumn. “In terms of capacity, the system is designed so that the fully charged accumulators could power the exhibition for five days. The simulations of the production and consumption of energy have shown that the system won’t need any other energy,” comments Dorazil.

This year’s Jindřich Chalupecký Prize will thus be the first exhibition with CO2-neutral run. “I know that many people will regard us as naïve, and might justifiably point out that the negative ecological footprint is not just left by the run of the show but also by its preparation, with the transport and materials involved. The only completely neutral solution would be to do nothing. But perhaps it will be enough to do less, and differently. I hope that this kind of discussion will open up also thanks to this year’s Chalupecký Prize,” adds Ondřej Chrobák, Chief Curator of the Moravian Gallery.

The Jindřich Chalupecký Prize is awarded to artists from the young generation for outstanding work with potential for recognition in the context of both Czech and international art, and is exceptional in its content and form. This year’s finalists are Comunite Fresca (Dana Balážová, Markéta Filipová, Marie Štindlová), Andreas Gajdošík, Baptiste Charneux, Marie Lukáčová and Pavla Malinová.

Curators: Karina Kottová, Barbora Ciprová

Pražák Palace, Husova 18
27 September – 19 January 2019

Opening: 26 September from 6 p.m., opening for children from 4 p.m.

Photos: The Moravian Gallery