The Golden Triga of the 15th Prague Quadrennial goes to Cyprus.
Prague, 13th June 2023 - On Tuesday 13 June, the Prague Quadrennial of Performance Design and Space 2023 presented the exhibitions and projects awarded by the PQ Jury at its 15th edition. The prestigious Golden Triga, given at every edition to one selected installation within the Exhibition of Countries and Regions and the Student Exhibition, was awarded to Cyprus and their installation Spectators in a Ghost City. The awards travel to numerous continents of the world, to Europe, Asia and to both North and South Americas. The festival welcomed nearly one hundred creative and curatorial teams from 59 countries and regions within the two main exhibitions; in total PQ 2023 hosted around 2,000 artists.
Golden Triga goes to Cyprus
At this year’s 15th Prague Quadrennial, the esteemed main award Golden Triga goes to the artists from Cyprus and their installation Spectators in a Ghost City. A minimalistic exhibit aims to mediate conflict and trauma of Famagusta, abandoned and fenced off for forty-six years, as a result of the Turkish military invasion. The team, co-led by the designer Melita Couta and the curator Marina Maleni, introduce the concept of “reverse scenography”, where a real place becomes a dramatised scene. The exhibit, using real footage, ruins exhumed from the city’s past, and installed in a cross-discipline manner, merge the real and the imaginary, anxiety and - perhaps - hope.
Performance design ever evolving
Capturing directions of performance design and space once every four years since 1967, the Prague Quadrennial opened on Wednesday 7 June for the fifteenth time and unveiled nearly one hundred original artworks within the main exhibitions, diverting from or insightfully employing traditional forms of theatre making.
The artistic director Markéta Fantová reflects on the ongoing progress of PQ: “This edition of PQ reflected the search for new directions in performance design, triggered by the pandemics, as well as ecological, environmental and socio-economic urgencies. Performative, active environments welcoming visitors as participants, multi sensorial immersive scenographies that use environment sensitive materials, and conceptual approaches reaching beyond the space and time of the festival were some of the most emerging trends.”
In this vein, she appreciates them opening and widening the scenographic form and expression: “These trends emerge naturally, since each participating country or region within the Exhibition of Countries and Regions and the Student Exhibition is fully in control of their own message, concept and work. Thanks to that we can not only enjoy a diverse landscape of ideas and inspiration from many different countries and cultures, but we can also search for common connecting patterns. One of those is a definite shift from design consisting of four dominant professions of lighting, set, costume and sound design to creative work driven by multidisciplinary teams. I consider this an exciting, freeing and refreshing direction.”
Markéta Fantová and the General Manager Michaela Buriánková will speak at a PQ Talks panel, on Friday 4:30 pm, along with their colleagues, about the festival preparations, while negotiating the potential future.
The exhibition spaces will be open until midnight on Friday, 16 June, both in the Holešovice Market and the National Gallery. The programme is live with performances in the places of Prague, talks, live events and music shows until 18 June.
PQ International Jury:
Asiimwe Deborah Kawe
D. Chase Angier
Serge von Arx
Since 1967, once every four years, PQ explores the artistic areas of scenography, performance design and space within all their aspects - from scenic art, costume, lighting and sound design, and performance space architecture to site-adaptive performance, applied scenography, augmented and virtual realities, technologies like Motion Capture and laser, or costume as a performance, within the scope of exhibits, installations, architectural concepts, workshops, performances and other live events. The core of the festival’s idea is to present contemporary performance design as a self-sufficient art form, acting upon the human imagination through all the senses - sight, smell, hearing, touch and taste. PQ 2023 will host artists from around a hundred countries in 300+ programme items, making it the most important event of its kind in the world.
Performance design/scenography has evolved substantially and expanded far beyond established theatre conventions. Models, sketches of designs, and performance photographs still remain excellent resources that map the minds and open the door to the imagination of their creators. On the other hand, these formats capture only one part of the creative process and tell us little about the environment, circumstances, emotions, and overall atmosphere of the performance. The one way to present scenography in its genuine form, comprising all of its parts and including audience participation, is to experience it live, in performative settings and curatorial environments that create or recreate its operations.
The present-day practice of performance design/scenography is one of the most exciting art forms and creative domains – in the innovative, fresh and holistic ways of engaging their audiences, participants, and the public.
In 2015 Prague Quadrennial received the EFFE award and was named one of the most innovative festivals in Europe.
Prague Quadrennial 2023
The Golden Triga has been awarded to Cyprus
The award ceremony was held in Prague on Tuesday 13 June 2023
The highly prestigious Golden Triga awarded for the installation Spectators In A Ghost City is a great honour for Cyprus and the country’s creators, for the curators of this year’s entry, and for the Cyprus Theatre Organisation, sparking joy and excitement. The Cypriot entry was curated on an initial concept by Marina Maleni, with Melita Couta as artistic researcher and installation designer, and with the collaboration of Harris Kafkarides. The Golden Triga, bestowed by an international jury of distinguished experts, is the most important award in the field of performing arts design.
A deeply moved Antigoni Papaphilippou, President of THOC’s Board of Directors, said, “This unique international award makes us proud and honours all Cyprus’s creators, its state theatre and those working passionately and with self-sacrifice in the arts. Warmest congratulations to everyone for this great achievement.”
According to the Jury of PQ23: “This elegant and many-layered exhibit demonstrates how scenography can interrogate and negotiate local themes of memory, absence and presence that resonate universally. It self-critically invites visitors to question their own position as viewers of real or reproduced sites of conflict and trauma. By looking at the past, present and possible futures of the site as seen through the narrow square openings of buildings, the exhibit provokes feelings of anguish while suggesting the RARE potential for hope.”
The Golden Triga is awarded at the Prague Quadrennial, to one installation from among the national exhibits. Over the years, the award has travelled to Europe, Asia, and North and South America. This year’s festival welcomed almost a hundred creative and curatorial teams from 59 countries and regions to the two main exhibitions, hosting around 2,000 artists.
Curator-initial concept: Marina Maleni
Artistic Research-Design: Melita Couta
Collaborating Technical Advisor: Harris Kafkarides
Art and Technology collaborator for Audiovisual: Giorgos Lazoglou
Video Performance Artists: Pascal Caron and Melita Couta
Graphic and website design: Philippos Vassiliades
Technical support in Prague: Doros Tsolakis
Technical support in Nicosia: THOC technical services
The award was received in Prague on behalf of THOC by the President of the Cyprus Centre of Scenographers, Theatre Architects and Technicians, Mariza Bargilly.
The creative team was accompanied in Prague by the President of THOC’s Board of Directors, Antigoni Papaphilippou, and board member Theodora Savva. During the delegation’s stay in Prague, there was a presentation of the methodology and work underlying the creation of the installation, attended by the Cypriot Ambassador to the Czech Republic, George Yiangou, as well as the Armenian Ambassador. The Cypriot exhibit was also visited by the Ambassadors of Greece, Denmark, Slovenia, Saudi Arabia and Tunisia.