Exhibitions, performances, installations, theatrical premieres, debates, …
Erpet Smíchov sports center, Strakonická 2860/4, Praha 5 – Smíchov
Dear visitors to this year’s Places of act,
Once again, the 4+4 Days in Motion festival welcomes you to an unusual venue, this time a former sports center.
Over the course of our 27-year history, we have worked with more than thirty abandoned and empty spaces waiting to be transformed, demolished, or reused.
Our path has brought us to a sewage treatment plant, factory, brickworks, department store, casino, gymnasium, ice arena, primary school, museum, neoclassical palace, and zoo.
Our focus has always been on the venue’s recent and less recent history as we work with the particular place to create many artistic projects in these unusual spaces.
In Prague, it is becoming increasingly more difficult to find interesting empty buildings to transform into an arts festival. This year’s “Place of acts” – the Erpet Smíchov sports center – was still recently being used. At Erpet, you’ll find universal sports fields, a football pitch, empty swimming pools with whirlpool jets, a children’s wading pool, and overgrown hedges.
The building’s interiors were once home to the city’s largest and oldest indoor golf attraction: a putting green, a two-story driving range, a six-hole golf course, and four simulators capable of taking you to some thirty golf courses around the world. And if you ever got bored from this surreal golf landscape, you could hop over to one of Erpet’s two squash courts, go for a Thai massage, or enjoy the wellness center.
The original SK Smíchov building began its life in 1980 as a handball arena, built according to plans by the architect Zdeněk Stašek. In 1994, the dilapidated sports center was renovated by a new tenant who turned the squash court into a golf training center. According to period sources, even politicians came to play tennis here.
Curators Gabriela Kotiková and Denisa Václavová invited more than sixty Czech artists to create site-specific works inspired by the venue. In addition, the exhibition also includes paintings, sculptures, installations, photographs, and videos on the subject of the human desire to be in multiple places at once, to be someone else in another time.
This large exhibition of visual art, which also includes works on display in Erpet’s gardens, works with the festival’s motto while responding to the space itself. We invited a broad range of artists representing various age groups, viewpoints, and positions. Many of them responded to the apocalyptic artificial landscape inside the building with a sense of humor and exaggeration. Futurecide is here and now, and our ever more frequent tendency to run away from ourselves only increases the emptiness between who we are and where we belong.
Many of the exhibited works question all the things we are so often firmly convinced of: this empty building with no function, waiting for a new future, offers the possibility of relativizing time, place, and space.
An old flyer advertising team-building activities that we found in Erpet’s basement reads: “On your visit, you can defeat your business partners and family members, or you can let them win!”
Who will defeat whom, and who will win in the end?
Site specific exhibition of contemporary art for the former sports center Erpet Smíchov
Sixty Czech artists, curators: Gabriela Kotiková and Denisa Václavová.