Kinetic Light Sculpture by Zdeněk Pešánek

The Czech National Trust has been striving for the restoration of the acclaimed kinetic light sculpture by Zdeněk Pešánek, a Czech avant-garde sculptor and an architect who is considered to be the world’s pioneer of the kinetic art. The Edisonka kinetic light sculpture used to be situated on the marquee of the Edison Transformer Station in Prague (designed by architect František Albert Libra). Many artists, architects and theorists still consider the sculpture to be one of the most impressive ones, and its return to the marquee would be an important and significant event.

Zdeněk Pešánek (1896 – 1965) was considered to be a visionary in his field who admired technology and architecture and his works were based on the principles of modern art styles. He focused on combining modern techniques with art traditions and he would also combine different genres and media in his works, such as scultupre, light and music. Zdeněk Pešánek was the first artist to include neon lights in his designs, and he was also the first artist to install a multipurpose kinetic sculpture in the public space.

The key event in Pešánek’s career proved to be his collaboration with Prague Electrical Enterprises. As part of this collaboration, Zdeněk Pešánek created unique artworks for their newly built electric transformer station buildings around Prague in the 1930s.

Along with László Moholy-Nagy’s works, Zdeněk Pešánek’s kinetic light sculpture which he created for the Edison Transformer Station on Jeruzalémská street in Prague still remains one of the key works of kinetic light sculpture art of the 20th century. The Edisonka sculpture, which comprised of 420 colour lightbulbs and which performed programmed kinetic-light shows every day between 7-8 p.m. between the years 1930 and 1937, can be considered an automated version of Pešánek’s other work called Spektrofon. Edisonka was the first ever kinetic light sculpture to be placed in the public space.

In 1997, the National Gallery in Prague hosted a Zdeněk Pešánek exhibition for which Federico Díaz designed a replica of the Edisonka sculpture in a smaller scale. This replica is currently stored in the National Gallery depository. CNT’s current goal is to have another Edisonka replica created, and to place it on the functionalist building of the former Transformer Station behind the Jindřišská Tower in central Prague. The Edison Transformer Station is no longer in operation, and has been reconstructed by Professor Ladislav Lábus a few years ago instead. Currently used an administration building, it is privately owned.

The Czech National Trust strives for the return of the unique Edisonka sculpture back to its original location for which it was designed. Without a doubt, the expert public around the world would surely be glad to see the restoration of this sight as Pešánek’s works have still been renowned and recognized to the present day.

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