As seen by Eva Prouteau, May 2017

May 2017, Prague.

A week at Bubahof goes by fast. The place is atypical: an island of concrete set in a landscape of building façades with no special qualities. Bubahof is at once a garden, a dwelling place, creative workshops, and an embryonic artist’s residency.

The people involved in this community have imagined a utopia on their own scale: the close dovetailing of life philosophy and vision of art, in a space both on the edge of the city and thoroughly connected with it. Here live Dita and Céline, Benjamin and Baptiste, and Clotilde. Only Dita is Czech.

The garden looks a little like Derek Jarman’s in Kent: a struggle for survival, where plants have to seek out light in the mineral enclave. Furniture recycled as window boxes, raised beds, one or two flowerbeds surrounded by fossils brought back from Normandy, where Céline comes from, small sentimental assemblages. There is even a small patch of lawn, and a vegetable garden!

This is the realm of two chubby female cats, two quiet towers of strength who slow the pace down: Ceca and Buba, after whom Bubahof is named.

There were plenty of discussions. And visits to very good exhibitions: Gerhard Richter at the Kinsky Palace and the Convent of St. Agnes, Eberhard Havekost at the Rudolfinum, and three shows at Futura. And then other encounters: the night when Hinda Weiss screened her videos at Bubahof, with an audience of thirty. Groupe 100% International, mixing the Czech Republic, France, Poland, Israel and Belgium… a buzz of lively exchanges, around buckwheat pancakes made by the artist Anne-Claire Barriga, who is also part of Bubahof.

In the city you feel good. Very low stress level. People move slowly about, and talk softly. The metro is beautiful, the trams have a vintage and sci-fi look about them, the cemeteries have an amazing melancholy quality, and the architecture attracts the eye at every street corner. The Vltava breathes like the Loire. We climbed hills. We drank beers. Céline, as a guide, is second to none.

I loved the few Prague cafés I stopped in on my travels. I would have easily spent more time in those places busily frequented by the inhabitants, nurtured by pints and delicious homemade lemonade, those places that Peter Weibel calls “the illegitimate places of art”. But Bubahof filled that bill in its own way: it’s a space where people create objects, but relations, too. I place where you feel alive.

I dream of going back.


translation Simon Pleasance