Architecture Exhibitions International

Wroclaw Museum of Architecture

Josef Sudek
Topography of ruins. Prague 1945

Mar 15–May 5, 2019
© Josef Sudek

After Paris, Rome, Milan, Düsseldorf and Prague, the exhibition of works by world-renowned Czech photographer Josef Sudek reached Wrocław. The Museum of Architecture will be able to see a collection of photographs documenting the war destruction of Prague, which resemble the today's forgotten chapter of the history of the Czech capital.


Josef Sudek (1896-1976) is a legend of Czech photography, an artist known primarily for his romantic imagination and for presenting the lyrical atmosphere of photographed objects. His favorite motifs were still lifes, windows, gardens (also fantastic, arranged for photography), Prague motifs and landscapes. From the 1920s to the 1940s, apart from free creativity, he also ran a studio that carried out commercial orders. His achievements, including tens of thousands of photographs, are currently in public and private collections around the world. In 1945, shortly after the end of the Second World War, Josef Sudek set out on the streets of Prague to document the destruction that the war left on the streets of the city. At that time, a unique series of nearly four hundred photographs was created that formed an artistic picture of ruined buildings, plinths of dismantled monuments, anti-aircraft installations, fire-fighting tanks, or an abandoned insurgent barricade. A historical portrait of the city can be seen at the exhibition "Josef Sudek. Topography of ruins. Praga 1945 "at the Museum of Architecture in Wrocław from March 14 to May 5, 2019. The opening will take place on March 14 at 17:00. A day later, at 12:00, a curator's guided tour of the exhibition in English will be organized.

The photographs of Josef Sudek refer mainly to two events from 1945. The first was the erroneous raid of American aviation in Prague, which took place on February 14, 1945 and caused damage mainly in the southern districts of the city center. In this area, Josef Sudek concentrated mainly on the heavily damaged buildings of the Emmaus monastery, in whose interiors he found an unobvious poetic of disorder among the debris, with light falling through the collapsed vaults. The second event - the Prague Uprising - took place from 5 to 9 May 1945. It brought liberation and peace, but at the cost of a serious damage to the Old Town Hall. Documenting the destruction of the building, Josef Sudek also showed life returning to the vicinity of the Old Town Square. The next theme of the cycle is the composition of confiscated metal in Maninach in the river port on the Vltava River. Josef Sudek was mainly photographing sculptures from Prague monuments and church bells creating accidental compositions with a surrealist expression.