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1 May 2014 - 30 May 2014

Trafačka at the RED Gallery

Trafačka, an internationally regarded Prague art collective, is exhibiting at the Red Gallery in London throughout May 2014, presenting 39 international artists showcasing graphics, paintings, photographs, mixed media and installations. Free entrance.

Opening times: Monday - Saturday, 12 - 7 PM

Free entry

1 May at 7 pm - Exhibition Opening with DJs Udo Kraft and Lazy Eye & Easy Die
3 May at 7 pm - Trafačka: Temple of Freedom (film screening and debate with artists)

Exhibiting artists:
Vojtěch Adamec, Tomáš Bařinka, Aleš Brázdil, Michal Cimala, Linda Čihařová, Markéta Dlouhá Márová, Saša Dlouhý, Epos 257, H3T architekti, Matěj Hájek, Terezie Honsová, Anežka Hošková, Matěj Hrbek, Martina Chloupa, Martina Chwistková, Jakub Janovský, Lukáš Ježek, Josefína Jonášová, Jan Kaláb, Anja Kaufmann, Martin Krajc, Tomáš Linhart, Iacobi Lopatis, Karel Masař, Linda Mikolášková, Jakub Nepraš, Bet Orten, Stanley Povoda, Pravá radost, Michal Pustějovský, Jakub Roztočil, Tomáš Skála, Robert Šalanda, Pavel Šebek, Michal Škapa, Matěj Šrámek, Martin Vála, Jan Vlček, Aleš Zemene, Prokop Bartoníček

Minister of Culture of the Czech Republic, Mr Daniel Herman, at the exhibition


This event is kidly supported by Techo 


Trafačka: Temple of Freedom

In 2006 Jan Kaláb took collection of the keys to a building where he was hoping to set up a small temporary studio after graduating from the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague. Instead, his collector unexpectedly made him the administrator of a former electrical substation built in 1922 and Trafačka was born. The sheer size of the building meant that right from the start it offered asylum to a group of artists (including Jakub Nepraš and Michal Cimala), who initiated their own local history with several group exhibitions (e.g. Trafačka and 5+kk). 

Along with the production manager Blanka Čermáková, they had soon transformed the industrial space into what is now a legendary gallery operating as a civic association, linked up several of the original apartments of the former factory workers in the neighbouring courtyard building, and spontaneously created an alternative cultural centre. Only one thing has ever been certain about this building in a brownfield site: it has a demolition order hanging over it and the lease agreement is for a limited period of time. Despite – or maybe because of – this, it is the ideal place for young, up-and-coming artists representing a broad spectrum of styles to find self-fulfilment, inspiration and a base. 

The global economic crisis made it possible for Trafačka to survive to the present day and organise 150 exhibitions, concerts, workshops, shows, projections and theatre performances in its premises. In the spirit of DIY the joint environment expanded into several discrete units: a gallery with its own graffomat – a spray and fix dispenser (Epos 257) – a large-format hall, and private courtyard with a prospect of the 31 leased studies in the adjacent building.

One of the best known and most visible events organised by Trafačka is the international festival of street art and graffiti Names (2008), which has been participated in by 50 mainly foreign artists over twelve legal facades and two spacious exhibition halls. In 2010 the core members of Trafačka organised the exhibition Metropolis at the Czech pavilion at EXPO in Shanghai, China, and subsequently at DOX, the Centre for Contemporary Art in Prague. The second representative international exhibition of graffiti and street art entitled Stuck on the City was held as a joint production with the City of Prague Municipal Library in 2010 and presented the work of leading Czech and world artists not only within the closed premises of a gallery but on another six large exterior facades in Prague.

Another hugely popular exhibition was that devoted to the legendary American photographer Martha Cooper (*1943), who was present at the inception of graffiti and its subculture. The exhibition was organised with the cooperation of co-curator, the writer Sany. Thousands of people visited the most recent annual exhibition of the friends of Trafačka, participated in by 100 artists and linked traditionally with the festivities surrounding St Nicholas’ Eve.

Since 2012 Trafačka has been organising residencies for foreign artists from around the world and has expanded both its base and the variety of the gallery’s horizon of expectations. Guests included David Spriggs (CA), Carlos No (PR), Paul Aloisi (CA), Leonardo Stroka (BR), Brad Downey (USA, GE), and many others.

Among other things Trafačka is the home of artists freely working on stretching the interpretation of the law and creating artworks in public spaces. As in Red Gallery London, the building facade emerges in a new guise several times a year, often thanks to leading international artists (Cakes, KR, Zedz, Akim, How&Nosm, etc.) and has become an attractive tourist destination as a result.

However, it is not only a penchant for graffiti and street art that Trafačka and Red Gallery London have in common. They share similar trajectories, enjoy friendly links, provide targeted support for young up-and-coming artists, pursue creative freedom, and face an equally uncertain future in the hands of their respective building owners.

The Trafačka studios and exhibition spaces have seen hundreds of artists come and go, mainly from the middle generation, looking for a friendly place to exhibit and an inspiring and accessible environment for work and meetings. These are people who relish the genius loci, the accumulated creative energy, and a feeling of belonging to a place that is ours only temporarily but all the more intensively for that. A place where a sensitive boundary between private and communal space operates, a space that belongs in part to everyone who has an interest in it in the best sense of the word. Many of its members have gone on to become household names with undeniable potential.

Proof of this is the time-lapse documentary by the long-time friend of Trafačka, Saši Dlouhý, entitled Trafačka – Temple of Freedom (2011). The exhibition of the same name at Red Gallery London presents in more detail our individual members, who have worked or perhaps still work in our studios and play a role in creating the name and reputation of Trafačka.

Blanka Čermáková
Prague 2014


Red Gallery, 1 - 3 Rivington Street, London EC2A 3DT


From: 1 May 2014
To: 30 May 2014


Czech Center is a coorganizer of the event

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