Brief history of
ArtForum


 


On February 14, 1997 Manes, the club of the Prague visual artists quaked in its very foundations. The celebration of the 50th birthday of the litographer Tomas Svoboda was hilarious. The celebrated person was literally flooded with gifts. One of the presents of purely spiritual nature was e.g. a multimedial scenic fairy tale called Rohovin Ctverrohy, an action patriotic drama set in the Czech-American boarderland, staged for this very event by Graficanka and Grafothalie, two art groups of artistically gifted visual artists from Prague and its neighborhood. Nevertheless at the feet of the celebrated man there were also gifts of purely pragmatic nature like crutches, a glass urinal, Pampers nappies... Among all that there was also the following letter:

Dear old friend,

we have been thinking very hard about how to celebrate your venerable age in a dignified manner and how to disperse the clouds heavy with the gloomy prospects of creeping old age. In spite of initial uncertainty and hesitation we have at last made a decision. We have become aware of the unpropitious effect which your inborn modesty and industriousness have upon the general development of arts. It does not occur often that a guru gives up admiration and respect of the crowd for toilsome drudgery in the casemates of an underground lithographic workshop. An act like that is a symbol of the greatness of spirit, strong will and creative potency of a master. Such genii have to be worshipped and placed on a pedestal. For this reason we have arrived at the following decision: Enough of hiding a master, enough of false shyness and modesty! You shall go where you belong - abroad! We took the liberty of selecting 12 prints which were printed in your workshop, added several accompanying sentences and tomorrow at 12 a.m. sharp we will open the gate of the network of the networks and send you on a trip round the world. From your native Indigo in Malesice you will via Vinohrady and Dejvice head for the Haag. And where you are taken by the Internet routes, it will be left up to fate. We are convinced that your trip will be successful and you will come back as a winner wreathed with honors that a genuine master truly deserves.

Bon voyage wishes Zdenek Jirkovec
and Software Applications and Systems


On February 16 the set of prints from Tomas Svoboda's workshop was put on Internet and sent off in accordance with the original plan. After less than two months what we have wished you has become true. The travelling was so successful that Tomas Svoboda a Zdenek Jirkovec have decided to combine many years of experience of lithographic workshop with the state-of-the-art technology and the potentials of a software house. Thus a gallery came into being which set itself a goal to create portraits of Czech visual artists and to present them both at home and abroad. Let us wait and see whether the future of this gallery will bring about the same measure of success as the initial project behind it.