Maříž (Mayres), a small village in South Bohemia which borders with Austria, was once a place where Czechs and Germans lived side by side. Like many other settlements nestled in the Sudetenland, it experienced a turbulent course of events over the past century. After the Velvet Revolution, a group of artists from Prague settled in nearby Slavonice, establishing their Summer School of Spiritual Experiment and Art in Practice. Attracting the attention of a broad range of locals and foreigners, the landscape was once again transformed into a hub of intercultural exchange.
Through a close conversation with those who established and ran the Summer School for 11 years, we follow their legacy and bring it up to date through our own initiative. We do so by living and working alongside the students for 10 days, led by the experienced artists from the former collective, along with a broader team of young creatives who also have close ties with the area. Together, we create the experience of a temporary tribe, whose creative outcome can serve as a sociological study of collaboration across cultures through a singular constructed “culture”.
ORIGINS OF THE SUMMER SCHOOL
The opening of the Iron Curtain paved the way for various artists and creatives from Prague (Trubáček, Boháč a Žampa) to realize their idea of a summer school in Slavonice, where they founded the creative centre ‘Besídka’. Over the following 11 years the project continued to take place in there, attracting many Czech and for- eign artists including David Vávra, Aleš Najbrt, Jaroslav Róna, and Karel Babuljak, just to name a few. Students were coming from all around the world to spend 10 days joining in a variety of fine art workshops based on scenery and cos- tumes, that were part of the final theatre play curated by the theatre “Sklep”.
From then on, Slavonice and neighbouring Maříž became a hotspot for international creatives which is how our own Czech-German relation started to grow. We would like to take the initiative and use our ongoing collaboration to uplift and revive the tradition of Maříž Summer School.
CONCEPT OF THE PROJECT
The first new edition since 2006 took place in August 2019. Together we experienced ten days of spiritual experiment and art in practice by offering five workshops, lectures, excursions and communal living in order to come into a collective mindset.
We, as the new generation consider Maříž as our shared center to express and further develop our interest in working with nature and its elements. The core team consists of young creatives from different fields and schools that regularly gather in Maříž. Former professors and artist from the original Summer School join the team in an effort to lead, support and guide the participating students.
The next edition of the summer school is planned for Summer 2021.
initiative and core team:
JAN VAGADAY, NICOLAS PROKOP, LUKAS MAAR, JULIAN BOHAČ
the 2019 project was supported by