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DESSA: photos of exhibitions

Way towards wisdom, 1941 (photo Andrej Hrausky)

We kindly invite you to the opening of the exhibition on Monday, September 11th 2017 at 20.00 in DESSA Gallery.


Plečnik’s Actuality

How we should understand Plečnik’s work today


Plečnik’s work is usually divided in three parts, connected with the three cities in which he worked: Vienna, Prague and Ljubljana. For many years his work was also considered in this order as art history appreciated his early work the most. At that time he was still part of the avant-garde that gathered around professor Otto Wagner. Today, more and more, we appreciate the virtues of his mature period when he deliberately chose his own architectural path. We declared the year 2017 as Plečnik’s year because of the 145th anniversary of his birth and 60 years since he died.


We should understand that Plečnik’s move to Prague in 1911 and the First World War caused a break in his work that lasted several years. When he arrived to Prague he was 39 years old, in the year 1920 when he started do get important commissions again, he was 48. During almost ten years of interruption of his work he was at the peak of his creativity. During the war he also faced with unbelievable destruction and loss of lives that shocked the very sensitive Plečnik. He had enough time to reconsider his attitude towards architecture and chose his own way ignoring the development of contemporary architecture. He saw the essence of architecture in its exceeding of time and therefore he strove towards eternal architecture (architectura perennis) that everyone would understand, not only today but also in the distant future.


Eternal architecture is not the one that stands against the time because of its physical strength, but the one that people can understand and appreciate also in the future. For this reason architecture must contain certain universality, like the great classical pieces of art, for which it seems they have something to tell to all historical periods. And when we would like to tell something, we use language that all understand. For this reason Plečnik used traditional architectural language of classical elements: column, arch, pyramid, and obelisk – elements with strong symbolic meanings. Plečnik believed in Etruscan roots of Slovene nation and therefore considered Slovene nation as legitimate successor of Antique architecture.


This is only the outer address, the real essence of Plečnik’s architecture lies in its creativity. There is no recipe for good architecture as every architect has to deal with several conflicting requirements that exclude in advance any ideal solution. So architecture is always a compromise between desires and possibilities. The quality of architecture lies in the creativity of this compromise and not in its appearance. Beside this Plečnik’s architectural solutions are also original: a bridge is not a bridge but rather a square on the water, library is a temple of wisdom and the morgue is not central exhibition of the dead, as Plečnik used to say, but an architectural park of farewell chapels.


The exhibition would like to explain that Plečnik’s work is not only part of our past, but a live tradition where lessons could be learnt for contemporary architecture.


Andrej Hrausky












How we should understand Plečnik’s work today
11. 9. - 8. 11. 2017

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