Installation view, National Gallery, Prague
10th February – 7th May 2023

Council of the European Union,
Brussels, Belgium
12th July – 31th December 2022
National Gallery, Prague
10th February – 7th May 2023

The project was conceived by: Jan Brož, Barbora Fastrová, Johana Pošová, Jakub Choma, Jakub Jansa, Valentýna Janů, Martin Kohout and Overall Office (Karolína Juříková and Kristýna Nováková).

And was produced by National Gallery Prague, as part of Czech Presidency of European Union 2022, Curated by Michal Novotný

As a part of this year’s Czech Presidency of the Council of the European Union, nine young Czech artists and designers created decorations for two buildings in Brussels. These artists decided to use their work to express the values that the European Union embodies for them and which they believe it should continue to embody in the future. They also tried to highlight the idea of Europeanism rather than to simply present the Czech Republic as one of the member states. Their collective project, as well as their individual endeavours, are linked by the concept of a community of plants sharing a single piece of soil, thus also stressing the environmental agenda, which will reverberate strongly during the Czech Presidency.

The main symbol of the Czech Presidency is a wreath of twelve medicinal plants, and this has been incorporated in the design of the large, ecologically-manufactured carpet installed in the main area of the atrium in the building where Council meetings are held. The weaving of wreaths is an ancient, not only Slavic, tradition. Young unwed women cast wreaths into the river during the solstice to guarantee their romantic future. This symbolised not only the vitality of youth but also the natural continuation of life after leaving one’s home hearth.

In keeping with the main symbol for the artistic presentation of the Czech Presidency, the artists chose to replace the twelve gold stars on the EU flag with twelve medicinal plants from different European regions. The resulting wreath, in which the stems of each plant are twisted around those of the previous one to create a more interwoven and stronger bond, embodies a gesture promoting a stronger European togetherness between all of the EU’s unique and distinct regions. A union, which does not exclude local identities, folklore, or traditions.