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The Last Underground (Praha 1999)
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In the shadow of the mainstream, breaking ground at Galerie No D...

Almost ten years since the fall of Communism, underground culture that defined the era seems to have been swallowed hole by the mainstream media. 

Almost ten years since the fall of Communism, underground culture that defined the era seems to have been swallowed hole by the mainstream media. Starting April 15th at the Roxy however, The Last Underground will seek to re-kindle the scene. For three fast and furious days the Roxy will display artists from over 11 countries. Organized by artists and a host of dedicated volunteers, the exhibition will play host to a bevy of live performances combining dance, music, video and audio-video performance.

The idea for The Last Underground originated with Prague born multimedia installation artist Marek Schovanek. The youngest artist to have held an exhibition at MANES in Prague, 1996, Schovanek has had 25 exhibitions in Prague, Paris, and Western Canada and regularly shows in Berlin solo and collective exhibitions. 

An active member at Kunsthaus Tacheles, a public art cooperative housed in the remains of a building in East Berlin, Schovanek's work includes portraits on monumental canvases with multiple layers of different media often covered in running illegible text.

Participating artist's include Schovanek (Czech-Canadian), Francois Giovangigli (French), Florian Langmaack (USA), Damian Loboda (Polish), Bastiaan Maris (Holland), Pete Missing (USA), Manfred Moorkamp (Germany), Tim Roelofs (Holland), Safi (Israel), and Wolfgang Spahn (Austrian). Performers include Vicki Bennett (UK), Butoh Dance (Japan), Diana Exotic Kitchen (Cuba), Furious (French), Mahatok (Germany), Stephanie Maher (USA), Bob Ruttman (USA), Safi (Israel), Technical Support (CZ), and Video Virus 23 (CZ).

Underground art refers to contemporary art that is provocative, and which transforms traditional notions of aesthetics and beauty. Through diverse media and forms, this new art incorporates traditional formula and modern technology to deconstruct and employ new uses and meanings that transcends boundaries. This show presents life as art and art as life; an art that is socially relevant and which carries social repercussions. The Last Underground showcases a freer art, an art for the next millennium.

The Last Underground will be the inaugural exhibition in the Linharts Foundation's newly acquired 765m2 gallery located above the Roxy. The first floor of the Roxy building will be used as a permanent gallery to showcase contemporary art and developments in multimedia and hopes to become a cultural focal point in Prague.

The gallery space, untouched for the past five decades, is magnificent with its glass ceilings, catacomb of rooms and seven-meter high ceilings and is the perfect showcase for bringing the Underground above ground.

As popular cultural thrives in the era of mass reproduction, the arts are witnessing a slow but escalating cultural genocide. Arts funding has been severely slashed over the past decade and governments worldwide have left responsibility for the maintenance of art in the hands of the private sector. This counter-enlightenment has resulted in a virtual separation of art and life. 

The Last Underground is the first project developed and orchestrated by MANIFEST, a new Prague-based non-governmental organization supporting and promoting progressive art. Nadja Kymlicka, co-founder of MANIFEST, expresses hope that The Last Underground will expand to other International cultural centers. Starting April 15th, the exhibition kicks off at 18:00 and after 23:00 the party will gravitate downstairs where participants will be assaulted by the images and audio of Safi, Berlin's premier video DJ. 

The festivities continue Friday and Saturday nights from 18:00-22:00 in the Gallery, and 23:00-05:00 in the Roxy. The dearth of mainstream media threatens to plough over the artists with visions not tied to dollar signs. Missing events like these pushes the real artists farther and farther from legitimacy. The passing of the millennium is now.


International Multimedia Exhibition to Open New Gallery in Prague

The Gallery DThe Gallery D PRAGUE, March 19, 1999 - An international group of multimedia artists arrives in Prague in early April to convert a decrepit first-floor space in the city's downtown into a new gallery, and to open The Last Underground, one of the largest and most diverse exhibitions to be held in Prague in years.

LangmaackLangmaackWhen the rubble is cleared, the walls painted and lights installed, Galerie No Dwill serve as a permanent gallery showcasing young, contemporary multimedia art. Five large rooms covering 765m2, make Galerie No D the largest, non-commercial art gallery to open in Prague for decades. 

Marek SchovanekMarek SchovanekGalerie No D's inaugural exhibition, The Last Underground, presents an array of multimedia works including painting, sculpture, installation and audio-visual and video art by artists from 11 countries -- Czech Republic, Canada, Germany, France, Austria, Holland, Poland, USA, Japan, Cuba, Bosnia and Israel.

Pete MissingPete Missing Prague-native Marek Schovanek will exhibit his larger-than-life multimedia portraits alongside monumental sculpture and 3D installation by France'sFrancois Giovangigli, and the collage city-scapes of Holland's Tim Roeloffs. Other works in the show include video, painting and glass installations and performances. A live scratchworks performance by premier video artist Safi of Israel and works by New York City's Pete Missing will highlight the opening event.

MoorkampMoorkamp Participating Artists:

Marek Schovanek (Czech/Canadian): multimedia installation painting

Francois Giovangigli (French): monumental installation painting, sculpture

Florian Langmaack (Hamburg): painting, sculpture, music performance

Damian Loboda (Polish): 3D sculpture, black-light installation

Bastiaan Maris (Dutch): installation

Pete Missing (USA): multimedia installation, performance

Manfred Moorkamp (German): installation

Tim Roeloffs (Dutch): photomontage

Safi (Israeli): video installation

Wolfgang Spahn (Austrian): painting and light installation

Ron Kazir (Israeli): VJ performance

Natderat (France): video


Nathalie PrevotNathalie PrevotConceived as an international multimedia show showcasing bold, innovative young artists, the organizers of The Last Underground expect the exhibition and the opening of Galerie No D will inspire a renewed interest in up-and-coming contemporary culture. 

Tim RoeloffsTim RoeloffsThe month-long (April 15 to May 15) exhibition opens on Thursday, April 15 with three fast and furious days of live music, performance, video and dance utilizing both the new gallery space and the Roxy club below. During the three-day opening weekend, live performances will include tribal improv percussion with Germany's Mahatok; an 8-piece drum and bass act from Holland; Japanese Butoh dance; and classical violin, with local sound systems and video makers. The multi-level, multi-dimensional opening event will be broadcast live on the Internet (www.thelastunderground.org) using the latest technology and the talent of local video and film artists.

Bastiaan MarisBastiaan MarisLive entertainment includes:

Furious (France); Internactive Music Association (Bosnia); Technical Support (Czech Republic); Video Virus 23 (Czech Republic); Natedrat video (France); Mahatok tribal improv percussion (Germany); Martin Passler (D); Blues Phil (NL); Maggot Brain (NL); DJ Binär (Berlin) Alice Rose (DK, audio video performance); DJs Bole, Mookendee and Eggman (Berlin) and Safi video performance (Israel).

SafiSafiSeveral Prague-based cultural institutes have pledged support for the project, and fundraising is being sought from private business in order to realize the event. Interest is also strong among Prague's own art and culture community and more local talent is being added to the monumental opening schedule.

Francois GiovangigliFrancois GiovangigliSponsorship has been pledged by the following:

Open Society Fund; Polsky institut; Tacheles; Telenor; UDV; Lucky Strike; Roxy; Linhatova Nadace; Pro Helvetia; Goethe Institute; Rakousky institut; Cantus Productions; Bohemia Bagels; AGS International Movers; Zepro; Mystic Skate; Ebel Coffee; i90; Revue; Il Botticelli; Vinium. Technical SupportTechnical Support

The event is the first project developed and orchestrated by MANIFEST, a new Prague-based non-governmental organization dedicated to promoting progressive art, and is presented in cooperation with the Lindharts Foundation.


- Gallery hours: 15 April - 17 April: 18:00-22:00, 18 April - 15 May: Tuesday through Sunday, 10:00 - 18:0, For further information and complete schedule of events, please see www.thelastunderground.org

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