On 15 October 2018, an outdoor exhibition dedicated to the Great War and its aftermath premiered in Prague. The Czech Republic is the first stop on the tour of the After the Great War – A New Europe 1918-1923 travelling exhibition.
The exhibition was prepared by the European Network Remembrance and Solidarity in cooperation with historians from over a dozen countries. It is an attempt to synthesize the turbulent beginning of the interwar period with the focus mainly on Central-East Europe. Over 200 archive and multimedia materials – pictures, maps and films together with individual stories of people who lived back in these times – present a complex yet coherent picture of New Europe established in Central-East part of the continent. The main goal of the project is to illustrate the scale of political changes and show its impact on current politics as well as to present different national memories.
‘The exhibition tackles an important event a century later and makes the case for why it is important for understanding not only Second World War but also East-Central Europe today’ says Prof. Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, one of the exhibition’s consultants. Prof. Jan Rydel, the Polish side coordinator of the ENRS adds: ‘The project will allow visitors to find out about past events, their consequences, different sensibilities and memories of Central and Eastern European nations.’
The exhibition takes a form of a white and silver pavilion in the shape of a cube. Its ingenious spatial design unveils different historical perspectives and guides the viewer through the multidimensional narratives present in post-war Europe.
THE ARCHIVAL NEWSREEL
EUscreen and European Film Gateway collaborated in the creation of a video specially curated for the exhibition. Thanks to the involvement of our partners from various film, audiovisual and broadcast archives, it was possible to gather diverse footage for a video entitled After the Great War – A New Europe 1918-1923. A newsreel. Cut into six topical chapters, it brings the viewer closer to the new post-war Europe, with its struggles against famine and poverty, destruction of the cities, new border lines and border wars. It also showcases technological progress, changing lifestyles and the new roles of women in society.
The exhibition is fully based on archival materials enriched with short text introductions written by various curators. It reuses moving images from the collections of:
- Cineteca di Bologna (Italy)
- Centre nationale du cinéma et de l’image animée (France)
- Deutsches Filminstitut (Germany)
- Eye Filmmuseum (The Netherlands)
- Filmoteca Española (Spain)
- Filmoteka Narodowa- Instytut Audiowizualny (Poland)
- Imperial War Museums (Great Britain)
- Lietuvos centrinis valstybės archyvas (Lithuania)
- Národní filmový archiv (Czech Republic)
Additionally, the curated video includes excerpts from the collections of the British Pathe and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
The exhibition begins its journey around Europe in Prague where it will stay until 12 November. Next stop on its route will be Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. The exhibition will travel to another five other locations next year. The whole project is scheduled to last at least three years. More information about the project, the team of experts involved in its creation and the exhibition tour can be found here.
The project was financed by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland as part of the Multi-annual Programme „Niepodległa” 2017– 2022.
The European Network Remembrance and Solidarity is an international initiative which focuses on researching, documenting and disseminating knowledge about Europe’s 20th-century history and ways it is commemorated with a special focus on periods of dictatorships, wars and social opposition towards captivity. The Network’s members are Germany, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania, while its advisory assemblies additionally involve representatives of Austria, Albania, the Czech Republic and Latvia. Visit www.enrs.eu for more information.
Image credits: Dominik Tryba (ENRS)