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  • Writer's picturePete Jonson

Kafka, Freud and Jiri Sliva

When travelling viewing art, especially paintings, is high on our list of things to do. Imagine the excitement when Henry's editor ,Pete Jonson, found an exhibition of a fellow modernist, name of Jiri Sliva. Jiri is like Pete an economist by training and has a wonderful sense of humour. Here is a link to his work.

The brochure that one is handed when paying to see his show explains. ‘Jiri Sliva was born in Pilsin in 1947 and has lived in Prague since 1966. After graduating from the Prague University of Economics, he was employed for eight years in the Prague Institute of Philosophy and Sociology’.

Jiri’s work rate is prodigious and is summarised on the web site already referred to. On the brochure, someone named Josef Kroutvor says: ‘Sliva seeks out banal moments, lifting them to a level of extreme incongruity. It could be said that Sliva takes things literally in order to demonstrate their relativity or nonsensenicality. An inner instability is probably an essential prerequisite for Sliva’s entire repertoire of ideas, puns, minor incongruities, and strange phenomena’.

One’s immediate attention is taken with Juri’s interest in Kafka. His exhibition is called

My Cup of Kafka and features a figure, presumably Mr Kafka dressed as a respectable gentleman standing up is a red coffee cup filled with coffee. An image called ‘Tango Kafkaesco’ shows Mr K dancing with a large cockroach. Another shows him riding a large cockroach. A third shows the large cockroach dreaming of Kafka.

It must be said that Freud gets space, as does Einstein. One of my favouites is called ‘Kosher blues’ and shows four Jewish gentlemen plaving the blues . One has a drum kit, one a violin, a third with a full beard an oboe and the second bearded gent (Dylan's grandfather?) a primitive guitar. All have neat clothes representing men not from the present except perhaps in some imaginary ghetto.

Prague is a lovely older city, mercifully not badly damaged except for the death of most of its Jewish citizens during WW2. There is a Jewish Museum that will fill you with dark thoughts about Germans in the 1940s. The many old buildings, including a stunning cathedral or two, show the age of the Czech nation and the Hapsburg Empire.

We also came on an exhibition of Dali’s prints, presumably collected by a person or art galley over many years. Also an exhibition by Alfons Mucka, ‘Master of Art Nouveau’. Clearly modern Prague is a hive of cultural enterprise and will repay a longer visit than Henry and Mrs Thornton could afford.

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