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14-jun.-2018 - 12-aug.-2018

Josef Koudelka: Invasion Prague 68

In cooperation with the Brussels Czech Centre, Magnum Photos and Aperture, Le Botanique museum welcomes, on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the Soviet invasion of Prague in 1968, Josef Koudelka, a living legend of contemporary photography. Exhibition organized in the framework of Summer of Photography, biennial of photography.

Koudelka, a native of Moravia, where he was born in 1938, studied at the Czech University of Life Sciences in Prague, from which he graduated in 1961. Even though he worked as an aeronautical engineer, he developed a passion for photography and held his first exhibition the same year at the Semafor Theatre in Prague.

He is only 30 years old and has just returned from Romania, where he photographed Gypsies, when the Warsaw Pact tanks invade Czechoslovakia, putting an end to the wind of liberalization that had blown across the country and bringing the "normalization" that will follow, a period of increased repression and a return to severe authoritarianism. Although Koudelka had never done news photos before, he brilliantly captured the resistance of the Czech people to the invasion of their capital by the Soviet tanks on August 21, 1968 both as a witness and a participant.

His series of photos "Invasion Prague 1968" will manage to leave the country, and to arrive on the desk of Elliott Erwitt, director of the photography agency Magnum Photos. It quickly becomes a true symbol of the fight against oppression and for freedom as it is published in leading magazines around the world. Nevertheless, Koudelka will have to remain anonymous for another sixteen years to protect his life and that of his family. The "Prague Photographer" will be awarded numerous international prizes. Later, Koudelka himself will receive the Robert Capa gold medal.

In 1970, on a trip to the West, Koudelka stays in the United Kingdom, because life in Czechoslovakia is no longer safe for him; where he will live for ten years, allowing him to join the Magnum Photos agency. At the time, he focused mainly on the daily life of various European countries. His most famous works include "Gypsies" (1975) and "Exiles" (1988). In 1987, Koudelka obtained French nationality, where he lives to this day. In the spring of 2018, the Prague Museum of Applied Arts dedicated to Koudelka its largest Czech retrospective.

In 2008, Studio Najbrt published Invaze 68, a book comprising 250 photographs and newspaper articles of the time, that waq be published in nine countries. The exhibition accompanying the book, "Invasion 68 Prague", inaugurated at the Pace-MacGill Gallery in New York, has since toured the world.

The exhibition is organised as a part of the Summer of Photography biennial and will serve as an opening to the biennial that has been given the theme “RESIST!” this year.

When: from June 14th to August 12th, Wednesdays to Sundays from 12 PM to 8 PM.

Opening of exhibition on Wednesday, June 13th from 6 PM.

Where: Museum Le Botanique, Rue Royale 236, Brussels 

Prices: 5.50€ full rate, 4.50€ reduced rate (seniors, students, groups, teachers, JAP), 3.50€ (Bota’carte, school groups, jobseekers). Group guided tours are available upon reservation at 02/226.12.18.

All the photos: Caption © Josef Koudelka / Magnum Photos

Download the brochure of Summer of Photography.
Organizers and support:







As a part of:



Le Botanique


Van: 14-jun.-2018
T/m: 12-aug.-2018

Georganiseerd door:

In samenwerking met het Tsjechisch Centrum

Geen herinnering mogelijk