The Prague Quadrennial of Performance Design and Space was established in 1967 to bring the best of design for performance, scenography, and theatre architecture to the front line of cultural activities to be experienced by professional and emerging artists as well as the general public. The quadrennial exhibitions, festivals, and educational programs act as a global catalyst of creative progress by encouraging experimentation, networking, innovation, and future collaborations. PQ aims to honor, empower and celebrate the work of designers, artists and architects while inspiring and educating audiences, who are the most essential element of any live performance. The Prague Quadrennial strives to present performance design as an art form concerned with creation of active performance environments, that are far beyond merely decorative or beautiful, but emotionally charged, where design can become a quest, a question, an argument, a threat, a resolution, an agent of change, or a provocation. Performance design is a collaborative field where designers mix, fuse and blur the lines between multiple artistic disciplines to search for new approaches and new visions.
The Prague Quadrennial organizes an expansive program of international projects and activities between the main quadrennial events – performances, exhibitions, symposia, workshops, residencies, and educational initiatives serve as an international platform for exploring the practice, theory and education of contemporary performance design in the most encompassing terms.
During the São Paulo Art Biennial in 1959, a special exhibit, designed by František Tröster, illustrated the development of Czech and Slovak stage design and theatre architecture during the period from 1914-1959. The result of the exhibition was a gold medal for Czechoslovakia. Continued Czech success during the next three Biennales led to an offer for Prague to host an international exhibition of stage design in Europe. Since its premiere in 1967, the international exhibition has been held regularly every four years, and has come to be known as the Prague Quadrennial.
Important artists who marked the history of the theater and the scenography participated and exposed at the Prague Quadrennial, such as Salvador Dalí, Josef Svoboda, Oscar Niemeyer, Tadeusz Kantor, Guy-Claude François and Ralph Koltai, as well as figures of the contemporary theater, such as Robert Wilson, Heiner Goebbels and Renzo Piano.
The exhibitions are judged and estimated by an International Jury, attributing the following awards:
- Golden Triga for the Best Exposition
- Gold Medal for the Best Stage Design
- Gold Medal for the Best Theatre Costume
- Gold Medal for the Best Realization of a Production
- Gold Medal for the Best Work in Theatre Architecture and Performance Space
- Gold Medal for the Best Use of Theatre Technology
- Gold Medal for the Best Exposition in the Student Section
- Gold Medal for the Most Promising Talent in the Student Section
- Gold Medal for the Best Curatorial Concept of an Exposition
The Golden Triga was awarded in 1967 to France, in 1971 to the GDR, in 1975 to the USSR, in 1979 to Great Britain, in 1983 to the GDR, in 1987 to the USA, in 1991 to Great Britain, in 1995 to Brazil, in 1999 to the Czech Republic, in 2003 to Great Britain, in 2007 to Russia, in 2011 to Brazil and in 2015 to Estonia.
The 14th edition of the Prague Quadrennial - 6 - 16 June 2019
After long 12 years PQ 2019 will take place at Prague Exhibition Grounds. The left wing of Industrial Palace, where 4 editions of PQ - 1995, 1999, 2003 and 2007 - had been traditionally held, burnt down in 2008 and the next editions removed to other Prague locations. This edition of Prague Quadrennial is inspired by the Golden Triga, the statue and the main award traditionally given as the highest prize to the best exhibition. The three different forces coming together to pull the chariot driven by Nike, the goddess of victory, stand proudly on the roof of the National Theatre to remind us that everything we do in creating a performance is an act of collaboration where all talents combine their strengths to achieve much more than any individual could ever accomplish alone. The three horses pulling the chariot symbolize three stages of human life, youth's wild instinct and intuition, the experience of adulthood and the age of wisdom. We will use the metaphor of the Triga to explore three points of view, three areas connected with cyclical phases of creative process: Imagination,Transformation and Memory.
Imagination The first area of interest will be dedicated to the beginnings of the creative process; searches for an artistic identity, strengths of formative energy and imagination. This is the phase where the work is raw, visceral, and untamed. Together we will explore the fragile moments of nding balance between the isolated individuality and ability to share even the most extreme ideas with others. We would like to focus on projects where the leading force is intuition and instinct unlimited and unaffected by routine. We will be interested in new concepts, experiments, discoveries, utopias and records of the invisible and fantastic interior world of human imagination.
Transformation Transformation is concerned with the core of the creative process, where artists develop strength, con dence, and the ability to discover anew within the limitations of the professional task. It is about the exciting process of surpassing the individual personality and the realization of the power of shared awareness and the collective vision of a group. In this section we will strive to inspire by looking for the best samples of outstanding collaborative performance design and architecture, where experience and deep understanding played a major role in its successful realization. The focus will be on in-depth explorations of the possibilities within the limitations of each task, where the limits determine new styles, engender new forms, and give impulse to new creation.
Memory In this section we will celebrate the phase in life and the creative process where all learning, gained experiences and memories merge and crystallize into a strong life philosophy and individual art form. Each era and each generation is affected by a different set of circumstances, socio-economic and political environments and moments of important changes that propel new ideas. Those moments are written into the memories of generations and become connective markers on the map of shared emotions. The best works of performance design, which only are complete during the performance, are saturated with the emotions of the era and often play an important role in the awakening of public consciousness. After the performance is over there are only fragments of design work left such as models, drawings, costumes and objects. Those fragments become capsules filled with the essence of their time, are part of important memories and help us understand the complex currents of here and now.