17 November 1989 was a decisive date in the history of the Czech Republic and Czechoslovakia, the moment citizens decided claim the rights they had been denied by the totalitarian regime since 1948 and whose denial was amplified twenty years later by the Warsaw Pact invasion. Though world powers had partitioned political control over most of the world, a handful of individuals formed a movement that would soon unite society in a struggle for freedom. The former Eastern bloc was swept by a wave of protests spurred, among other things, by the gradual dissolution of the Soviet Union, the Polish Solidarity movement or the fall of the Iron Curtain in Berlin. 1989 was a year of hope and possibility. It was an occasion to institute a new civil, political and economic system. Three decades later, we should not forget these events – to the contrary, we should face the experience critically and be able to formulate complex views of the story.

Interview 89 presents a series of interviews with artists offering their reflections on the historical transformations and legacies on the 30th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution. Magdalena Jetelová (1946) and Ivan Kafka (1952) describe how art emerged under difficult conditions in the former regime and use this experience to base their observations about the world as it is today. Anna Daučíková (1950) and Zbyněk Baladrán (1973) engage discuss the development of political relations then and now; they attend to problematic processes from the inside and broach paths to processing the experience in one’s own personal way. Though his generation was not marked by direct experience of the preceding era, Jakub Jansa (1989) seeks possible models of the way forward that would appeal to society at large. The interviews elucidate specific connections that will inform further debate and individual self-realisation in our time. This project was created for the National Gallery Prague, by artists who follow current social events and actively engage in them through their artwork.

This project was made for the National Gallery Prague thanks to artists who observe the course of events in society and become part of it through their artwork.