The worlds of art and sport have more in common than it might seem. Primarily, it’s their ability to excite emotions. The Sport in Art platform would like to introduce the public to this harmonious connection through the ROW ROW ROW exhibition which presents an artistic impression of the cult Primátorky rowing race, and also functions as an important connector to the world of sports. The exhibition presents the works of 11 prominent Czech artists. It will take place from 27th May to 9th June in no other place than right by the river, in Smíchovská náplavka in the space of Kobka 17 which hosts the Sport In Art pop-up gallery. The exhibition opens on 26th May at 19:00.
Rowing is fascinating. A sports discipline that demands a considerable physical effort and yet looks so elegant. It’s hardly surprising that the phenomenon of a narrow white boat furrowing the dark blue surface became an inspiration to so many artists. The original works you will encounter at this exhibition have been created only recently as a reaction to the Primátorky race. “They have a characteristic personal signature, and the range of their styles includes expressive, realistic and abstract approaches. The whole exhibit promises an interesting, dynamic, unusual spectacle that escapes the ordinary gallery routine,” says the exhibition’s curator Petr Volf about the selection of the artists.
You can look forward to paintings, sculptures, graphics, photographs or video art. For example, a whole new series of paintings was created by Alena Anderlová: “The connection of the water’s surface and the figural motif is very close to me. Water is an element that often appears in my works. For the ROW ROW ROW exhibition, I’ve created six medium-sized and several smaller paintings that form closed cycles. The reflection of the water’s surface and the sun's rays play an important part in my works.” The visitors can also look forward to Milan Cais’s watercolours, paintings by Marek Číhal, Jiří Hauschka or Karel Jerie, Karel Štědrý’s abstractions, Julius Reichel’s cycle of three large-format paintings, Michal Cihlář’s graphics, Paulina Skavová’s brand new sculpture, Zuzana Bahulová’s video, and illustrations by Tomski&Polanski. The last work is also a foundation for this year’s race’s official visuals. This marks the second year of the successful illustrator duo being tasked with creating the Primátorky visuals.
The ROW ROW ROW exhibition opening will take place on the 26th of May at 19:00 at the Sport in Art pop-up gallery in Kobka no. 17 at Smíchovská náplavka. The exhibition runs until 9th June. The visitors may come between Tuesday and Friday from 15:00 to 20:00 or Saturday and Sunday from 11:00 to 17:00.
Another important member in charge of connecting the worlds of sport and art is the chairman of the Blesk rowing club Jaroslav Starosta jr. He provided the artists with professional consultations on the world of rowing, and even oars for Paulina Skavová who formed them into an entirely new object for the ROW ROW ROW exhibition. He says about the exhibition: “Rowing is an elegant sport which is inherently connected to culture and art. We are proud to contribute through our small effort towards the creation of these works of art and thus elevate not only the sense of athleticism but also aesthetics.”
The specific art exhibition will be presented not just through the exhibit itself but also as a catalogue placing the individual artists and their works into a wider context. Sport in Art has not chosen Petr Volf by accident. They consider this art critic and theoretician, who has been focusing on the topic of sport in art for many years now, to be the founding father of the platform’s concept. Volf is also the author of the first Czech publication systematically mapping this intersection, titled Sport is Art (Sport je umění).
Volf also put a lot of consideration into the selection of the exhibition’s architect - Mariana Hanková (Olgoj Chorchoj studio). Hanková is very close to the topic of rowing and has actually competed in the Primátorky race in the past. Even the space where the exhibition takes place has not been selected randomly. From the beginning, the organisers were aiming to have the exhibition take place by the river, as close to the race as possible. The space of the communal Kobka no.17 at the Upper Embankment at Smíchovská náplavka presented the perfect solution - and so, for the exhibition’s duration, it will change its name to Sport in Art pop-up gallery. The exhibition will open to the public on 26th May and will run until 9th June. The visitors may come between Tuesday and Friday from 15:00 to 20:00 or Saturday and Sunday from 11:00 to 17:00.
The legendary rowing race on the river Vltava in the heart of Prague will take place between 4th and 5th June and will celebrate its 109th anniversary. The Primátorky race has been writing history since 1910 and is considered to be one of the largest events of its kind in the Czech Republic and the largest regatta in Central Europe. The race is extremely popular worldwide and will be attended not only by teams from the Czech Republic but also from abroad. This year, the Smíchov Rowing Club will take up the torch as the exciting race’s organising club. “The Smíchov Rowing Club is excited to be organising the race in the year where it will be celebrating 95 years since its foundation. We believe that there will be a lot to look forward to and we’re looking forward to witnessing the best Czech rowers race,” says the RC Smíchov chairman Václav Maleček. Last year, 1010 rowers in 130 teams took part in the Primátorky race and this year the numbers are expected to be even higher.
The ROW ROW ROW is not the only art effort made by Sport in Art. The exhibition ties into previous collaborations between Pert Volf and Marek Tesař (Raul agency) which in the past have taken the form of the Skol!!! Exhibition inspired by the cross-country ski race Jizerská 50, the photography display Viděna šesti or the series by leading Czech artists inspired by the traditions of the Sokol movement. Thanks to the Sport in Art project, the Sokol headquarters now boasts a grand mural by the street artist Michal Škapa. This group of art and sports lovers also stands behind the international initiative Make Art Not War which called for artists to create posters for charity and resulted in a unique collection with sales’ profit going directly to people affected by the war in Ukraine.