‘HIDE & SEEK,
WHAT'S ENCASED BENEATH’
at Vitkov Hill, Prague
Vitkov Hill, the natural citadel which has been utilised for its defensive position within the city for centuries has gone through many cycles since first being made use of during the Hussite Wars. In the 1950’s, an extensive system of bunkers able to offer refuge to two thousand people was installed; reiterating the strategic position of Vitkov Hill and sustained until today. Historic hints to this extensive network are scattered across the hill, shrouded by the overgrowth and further concealed by the monument which demands attention away from the utterances of what slumbers beneath.
Vitkov’s actual function is buried under the park’s nature as well as a brutalist monument and viewpoint on the city of Prague, directing one’s focus away from the place itself. What can be seen is cared for, but the bunker’s tops are slowly being overgrown by nature and corroded away. Thus the hidden is more representative of the site’s meaning than what is visible on its surface, but we are unable to grasp what we cannot see or perceive.
The exhibition project is taking the entire Vitkov Hill as a visual analogy to the approach of site specific art backed by in depth research; considering more than just the perceptible and obvious contexts of a site when engaging with an environment. Through mapped textual fragments and artistic installations, we are trying to take up to the surface what lies buried beneath the hill - integrating works that are visualizing, searching, re-finding or imagining the hill’s historical underground and making the invisible visible on the site’s surface.
The ‘environmental exhibition’ extends across the secluded backside of the hill, where parts of the bunker’s tunnel system are scratching the surface we stand on. Walking down the hill, the narration unfolds along the way: starting at the brutalistic monumentality with its feeling of the sublime, passing through the surrounding nature hiding the truth, down to the tips of the bunker as the only visible evidence of the site’s history, meaning and function.