The gallery Tančící dům, located in the Czech city of Prague, has opened the exhibition Praha dekadentní, which presents a previously unshown history of the erotic life of the capital of Czechoslovakia in the 20th century.
Shocks, outrages, but also educates
The exhibition Praha dekadentní (Decadent Prague) will reveal to its visitors brothels, the beginnings of striptease in the 1960s, and erotic paintings that were created outside the watchful eye of censors. Additionally, visitors will be able to see an exhibition of women’s underwear from the entire 20th century and the first hand-made Czechoslovak erotic toys.
According to the organizer, this is the most controversial exhibition to date. It will outrage, but also educate visitors. – We have made this exhibition censorship-free so that visitors can see what really happened in Prague in the 20th century. No covered naked bodies, no censorship – said Robert Vůjtek, director of the Tančící dům Gallery.
History from A to Ž
Decadent Prague is divided into 30 themes about erotic life in the capital of Czechoslovakia and will take visitors on a journey through the entire Czech alphabet from A to Ž. For example, under the letter “J” you can see a unique collection of erotic posters from Jablonex from the 1980s. Under “K” you can find the first vibrators produced in socialist Czechoslovakia. Due to censorship, they were sold as various massage devices in a discreet case (kufřík). “N” is the history of nudism, and “X” depicts banned pornography from the 1970s and 1980s and how it changed with the emergence of digital media.
– In the 1970s, for example, so-called massagers were sold. They were intended for something completely different, but many curious people knew that they could also be used as sex toys – said one witness to the pre-revolutionary erotic industry, Oldřich Widman, who also took part in the preparation of Decadent Prague.
Most things related to erotica were banned in Czechoslovakia for most of the 20th century, but people still found ways around the prohibitions and obtained the items they wanted. Unfortunately, only a few pieces have survived to the present day.
The exhibition will be open until March 31, 2022 and is only accessible to adults 18+. All texts are in Czech so a good knowledge of the Czech language or a phone with a translation app is required.