Curated by Annalisa Cosentino
December 16, 2008 - March 1, 2009
As the Czech Republic prepares to take over the duty presidency of the European Union, this exhibition - held to commemorate and illustrate the 40th anniversary of the season of promise known as the Prague Spring which came to such a tragic end with the armed invasion of August 1968 and the start of the so-called "normalization" in early 1969 - tells the story of the political and social changes that occurred in the space of a single year, from one spring to the next. There is also from an Italian-specific viewpoint, because the events in Czechoslovakia had an explicit impact on Italy which led, among other things, to a crisis in the ranks of the domestic left.
The exhibition uses documentary and personal photographs to illustrate the events, and the extent to which ordinary members of society took part in them; it portrays the players; and it hosts testimonials, photographs, posters, flyers and documents from public archives (such as the State Archive of the Czech Republic, the Library-Museum of Banned Books, Czech regional archives, the archives of the University of Bologna and the Na zábradlí Theater archive) and private collections, some of which will be on public display for the very first time.
The exhibition also includes the projection of a 45-minute documentary based on footage (from the archives of Italian state broadcaster RAI, of Èeská televize and of the Czech National Cinethèque) and previously unseen interviews with such personalities as Pietro Ingrao, Rossana Rossanda, Enzo Bettiza and others.
Also on display will be a number of works of art from the National Gallery in Prague.
The pictures and documents are accompanied by a soundtrack commentary that is never terse and objective but always impassioned, involved and well-reasoned: a thought-provoking analysis rooted in a contemporary in-depth reappraisal based on previously unpublished testimonials and literary renditions. And other art forms such as painting, sculpture, poetry, satire and cartoons will also be adding their unique perspective to the exhibition..
During the course of the exhibition, a one-day seminar on the topic "Prague From One Spring to the Next", organized in conjunction with Rome's Università "Tor Vergata", will be held at the Palazzo delle Esposizioni along with a retrospective festival of Czech and Slovak films.