A photo exhibition, presenting the capitals of the Visegrad countries emptied due to the coronavirus pandemic, awaits visitors at the Hungarian Cultural Institute in Beijing until mid-December. The exhibition, titled “V4 Empty Cities” show the vacant streets and squares, as well as the peculiarities of this epidemic, such as mask-wearing pedestrians or people waiting for testing, and tell the story of 2020 in a rather unique way.
The exhibition was opened by the Ambassadors of the 4 Visegrad countries on 18 November. Representing Hungary, Ambassador Máté Pesti pointed out that the coronavirus epidemic has seriously impacted the economies, tourism, small businesses and societies of the four countries. Art, however, has the potential to provide comfort amid hardship and grief.
Czech Ambassador Vladimír Tomsík emphasised that the forced cessation of normal life in the city provided an opportunity to look at Prague, usually bustling with tourists, from a whole new perspective. Admiring the architecture in front of us, we can think about how to preserve our cultural heritage as much as possible. Polish Ambassador Wojciech Jacek Zajaczkowski spoke about the fact that the photo exhibition provides both an insight into the sensitivity of Central Europeans and the way in which the pandemic has been experienced in this region.
Slovak Ambassador Dusan Bella was of the same opinion, saying that the spaces left empty by the epidemic could be filled with new content. The Slovak diplomat compared the years 1989 and 2020 experienced by the Visegrad Four, pointing out that the former was about the desire for freedom and democracy and the latter about their limitations.
Dr Szonja Andrea Buslig, director of the Hungarian Cultural Institute in Beijing, said that another exhibition is under preparation, planned to open by December together with other V4 countries, as part of the European Cultural Routes itinerant exhibition. The first part of the European Cultural Routes exhibit was held in September, and the second part will be held in December, now involving the V4 partners.
The V4 - Empty Cities exhibition has already garnered the interest of others in China, and as such, the unique exhibition will soon be presented to an even wider audience.