Ludvík Hlaváček

Soros Center for Contemporary Art Prague
Foundation for Contemporary Art Prague

PhDr. Ludvík Hlaváček (born 1940 in Prague) studied art history at the Faculty of Arts of Charles University in Prague. In the 1960s and 1970s, his studies focused on the phenomenological philosophy he had learned from Jan Patočka. When he signed Charter 77 in 1977, he had to leave the Institute of Theory and History of Art of the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences and worked as a manual labourer until 1989. Between 1984 and 1989 he co-authored, along with a group of art historians, the samizdat journal "Někdo něco," which was devoted to contemporary art criticism. In the early 80s he was influenced by postmodernism and the work of Zdeněk Bonaventura Bouše. After 1989, he was editor of the magazine Výtvarné umění and again joined the Institute for Theory and History of Art of Czech Academy of Science. In 1992, he was commissioned to set up and run the Soros Center for Contemporary Art in Prague. Today, he is the director of the Foundation for Contemporary Art and teaches at the Faculty of Art and Design of Jan Evangelista Purkyně University in Ústí nad Labem. 

Soros Center for Contemporary Art Prague (SCCA Prague)

The Center for Contemporary Arts Prague (CCA Prague) - originally the Soros Center for Contemporary Art Prague (SCCA Prague) was founded in 1992. For ten years, CCA Prague was supported by the philanthropist George Soros (Open Society Institute New York) with an annual grant of USD 200,000 and through the financing of the participation of the Czech Republic at international exhibitions (Sao Paulo, Manifesta 1,2), creative residencies by Czech artists in global art centers, subscriptions to important specialist magazines, etc.

During these ten years, CCA Prague created a library comprising extensive documentation, organized five large exhibitions, three of which could be deemed trailblazing in their field (Orbis Fictus in 1996 was the first Czech exhibition devoted to new media, Artwork in Public Spaces 1997–98 gave a boost to the activities of public art, and Politiku-um / New Engagement in 2002 ushered in a tradition of exhibitions of political art). Since 1997, CCA Prague has organized a total of 160 exhibitions of young Czech artists, also in the gallery Regionální chodba and the Jelení Gallery.

The center was also active in the sphere of creative residencies for artists. In 1994, CCU Prague was the founding member of Res Artis, an international association of residential centers. At the same time it was the project administrator of ArtsLink, as part of which Czech artists and curators had the chance to travel to the USA on study trips. In 1997, CCU Prague opened three studios in a building in Jelení Street and from 1998 to 2002 rented the Čimelice Castle for this purpose. Up until now, CCA has arranged residencies for approximately two hundred foreign artists in the Czech Republic. Since 1995, thanks to the significant financial assistance of the American privately-run Trust for Mutual Understanding, CCA has sent dozens of Czech artists to important foreign art centers.

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