Mini Wonders

The “Mini Wonders” exhibition draws attention to the phenomenon of Czech toys, the story of which started at the beginning of the 20th century and is still being intensively explored and developed. The choice of exhibited items focuses on exceptional examples of contemporary Czech toy production and takes into account the innovation, originality and tradition of the toys. The exhibition presents toys by present-day designers displayed next to modern icons of the industry that have become part of the Czech cultural heritage during the past hundred years and are still manufactured. The oldest design of a toy exhibited here dates back to 1920, while the most recent exhibits were designed just in 2018.

Czech toys have made a name for themselves internationally. They celebrated unprecedented success at the Expo 1958 in Brussels, where Czechoslovakia showcased its exhibition about the children’s world created by the artist Jiří Trnka and the teachers and designers Viktor Fixl and Václav Kubát. In more recent years, Libuše Niklová’s retrospective “Plastique ludique”, which took place in 2011 at the Musée des arts décoratifs in Paris, renewed interest in Czech toys. In 2012 the exhibition “Century of the Child: Growing by Design 1900-2000”, organised by the Museum of Modern Art in New York, featured designs of toys by renowned Czech designers.

© Anna Pleslová

The “Mini Wonders” exhibition aims at drawing attention to the production of acclaimed traditional toy producers (such as Merkur, Fatra or Detoa), many of whose designs have been favourites with several generations of children both in the Czech Republic and abroad. At present, the young generation of designers and illustrators is continuing the tradition of Czech (mainly wooden) toys while also letting in the fresh air of new ideas and solutions. Toys give designers room for the unrestricted, unprejudiced development of their imagination, enabling them to exceed their own creative borders, to opt for a playful attitude and to practice technological ingenuity. It is about time Czech companies fully take advantage of their potential, as Fatra has done with its collection of toys by contemporary designers.

All the exhibited items, be they re-editions of original designs from the 20th century or contemporary designs, have been very well-received by children and adults alike, the latter ones seeking them as decorative collector’s objects. The exhibition presents toys as a symbol of childhood, joy and creativity that both children and grownups have the right to enjoy. Toys awaken and develop the human imagination, the intelligence, and the sensory and motor skills from the earliest age. They are small wonders in this world and they can perform miracles.

More about the project: Mgr. Sandra Karácsony, T: +420 234 668 328, E: [email protected]

Curator: Tereza Bruthansová

Installation design: Anna Kozová + Jerry Koza / atelier SAD

Grafic design: Zuzana Lednická / Studio Najbrt

Organisator: Czech Centres

Main partner: Kazeto

Partner: Etna iGuzzini