I have just returned from the the Czech Republic’s second city Brno – a beautiful, historic place where the streets are lined with grand central European buildings, theatres and churches and where the beer is as cheap as water. But unlike the country’s big sister Prague, there is not a stag do in sight and the warm Moravian climate brings a relaxed quality to the city as people while away the hours in one of the many pavement cafes and breweries.
One of the highlights of my trip was a visit to the Moravian Gallery (Moravska Galerie) with an exhibition by Czech artist Cyril Blazo. His collages look deceptively simple, even child-like. He takes pictures from magazines, newspapers and even colouring books and cuts out a shape in the picture. He then turns it over to place the picture on the reverse side onto the first picture creating humorous juxtapositions. Some of these work better than others. Some are simply playful while others make an implicit comment on the fact that we live in a world where we are surrounded by 2D images which can be deconstructed.
The Moravian Gallery itself is excellent. There are some outstanding works by early 20th Century Czech artists particularly from the expressionist and cubist movements. The mood of some of these paintings seems much darker than those produced by western European artists at this time and it was a good opportunity to see something not normally shown in the UK.
Other treats for art lovers in Brno include the beautifully painted Centre for Experimental Theatre and Cafe Falkwhich puts on live music and films in its basement. And not only does it do fantastic (and very cheap) coffee cocktails, it has some lovely vintage furniture and a really bohemian – sorry ‘Moravian’ – vibe.