Tuesday, October 18, 2016

The Franz Kafka Museum & John Lennon Wall

The unique space of the Herget Brickworks in Prague's Lesser Quarter on the banks of the Vltava River is home to the Franz Kafka Museum whose exhibitions offers insight into the world of the Prague-born writer, one of the most important figures in 20th century world literature. Kafka's writing has inspired the term "Kafkaesque", used to describe concepts and situations reminiscent of his work, such as 'The Trial' and 'Metamorphosis', where bureaucracies seem to overpower people, often in a surreal, nightmarish way evoking feelings of senselessness, disorientation, and helplessness. Like most of Kafka's works, The Metamorphosis is a metaphorical examination and critique of modern society. In addition to often being physically ill, Kafka fought many mental demons in his lifetime, all of which wormed their way into his works. The museum exhibition explores the intimate relationship between Kafka and the city that shaped him, and features most of the first editions of Kafka's works, correspondence, diaries, manuscripts, photographs and drawings documenting his complex and tragic life, that have never been displayed before. Through the use of video and sound installations with music composed especially for this exhibition, one is transported into an eerie atmospheric world of imaginative displays and surreal spaces. Franz Kafka was very critical of his own literary work and only a small part of his writing was actually published during his life. A major part of his work was however later published thanks to Kafka's friend and writer Max Brod, who did not respect Kafka's wish to burn his manuscripts after he died.

Interior of the Franz Kafka Museum with creatively designed displays and installations

A striking red stairwell in the exhibition is perhaps a metaphor for Kafka's descent into a world of alienation and surrealism

Collection of manuscripts and 1st edition books

First edition cover of The Metamorphosis by Kafka, 1916

A room of black filing cabinets with some open drawers displayed personal letters of Kafka's while he worked as filing clerk, a constant burden and strain on his creativity 

Drawer with original set of Kafka drawings

Displays of letters and photos of different loves in his life, although he never married

Franz Kafka, widely regarded as one of the major figures of 20th-century literature, 
died in 1924 at the age of 40 from tuberculosis

Charles Bridge from the Prague's Mala Strana waterfront — the city that shaped much of Kafka's writing

Covered with grafitti, the John Lennon Wall evolved as a symbol of freedom and rebellion 
against the communist regime in the 1980's

Musician playing Beatles songs

The Lennon Wall has become one of Prague's most popular public landmarks

Prague 'love locks' on Čertovka Bridge

Restaurant next to Čertovka Bridge with tables cantilevered over the canal 

Small wooden riverboats can take passengers from one bank of the Vltava River to the other, 
which is a charming way to enjoy Prague from the water 

Our boat taking us along the canal of Prague's 'Little Venice' 
and past some quaint waterside restaurants 

A beautiful view from the water of Charles Bridge 

Statue of Charles IV, the Holy Roman Emperor and King of Bohemia, at Charles Bridge Tower

Prague's hip New Town neighbourhood with the walking bridge to Slovanský Island and Park

Prague's National Theatre Opera House with its spectacular Renaissance Revival architecture

The 'Dancing' House, also known as the 'Fred & Ginger' Building, was designed by 
architects Vlado Milunic and Frank Gehry

View of the Old Water Tower and Smetana Museum from Legion Bridge

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