Eugen Brikcius

* 1942  

  • “We met in the morning, it was called V hotýlku [In a hotel]. There we talked. Me, Daníček, Kořán and Magor. He was the fernet king, Jarda Kořán, so we drank fernet. We always quarrelled about something, it concerned art and things like that. This time we didn’t quarrel but agreed on everything. We drank to it that we agreed. There was a process of continuous agreement. They called the police and the police took us away. There was a police headquarters Na Slupi. Jarda and Ivan told them that we were to leave the very same day to East Germany, where there was an international conference of the Youth Union. The head of the delegation was a guy named Varholík. We claimed that we were going with him as a support. We told them this and they indeed let us go.”

  • “Then I set up beers at Kampa. This was already interesting since the police intervened. This was in 1967, there was no Prague Spring in sight and no signs that it would arrive. The situation was getting better but it was still a totalitarian regime with everything that it takes. I ignored it. I did not want any confrontation. It was at Kampa, there were not many people. I invited people. My premise was that when beer was distributed in a pub, there was a level of beers. Political noise was made by those who drank the beer. And when you think them away, you have only a level of beers that can be transported anywhere, to a crossroads or to a park. The beers stood there, it was raining so they stood in puddles. They reflected. It has several levels to it. The police came. They did not arrest anybody then. They just took down names and dissolved the event. Banned it.”

  • “I used to visit gardens beneath the Prague Castle. They are a wonder of the world, terraces, now they have cultivated them and there is an entrance fee. It occurred to me that some old ritual be reconstructed there. What would that be? Something of a more general nature. An homage to a god. A goddess, that is. I made her a goddess. I would have done it even had I not been desperately in love, as I saw this as a kind of art challenge. When I was thinking about what to pay homage with, a round loaf of bread revealed itself to me. So she sat on a baroque arch, we walked the stairs and put the mythical pyramid at her feet. The the police arrived, arrested everybody and confiscated the bread.”

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    Praha, 20.09.2016

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    duration: 01:57:35
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    Praha, 12.10.2016

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I lived all my life as a free man in an illiberal world

Eugen Brikcius, 2016
Eugen Brikcius, 2016
photo: autoři natáčení

Eugen Brikcius was born in Prague on August 30, 1942. Having graduated of grammar school he was not accepted to university due to a poor cadre assessment. He studied in private philosophy, languages, wrote poetry and took an interest in culture developments. In the late 1960s he started organising happenings in Prague. He organised, for once, a procession of people of whom each person bore a loaf of bread. The State Police perceived his activity as provocation and subversion and sought ways to prevent him from pursuing them. In 1967 he was taken to court over a happening but was freed as the experts appointed by the court defined his event as a piece of art. In 1973 he was sentenced for eight months for singing songs, while drunk, which the court took to be denigration of the Soviet Union, a criminal act under socialism. He worked in the Václav Špála gallery and then on several positions as a labourer. He also made his living as a translator. He was one of the first signatories of Charter 77. A constant pressure from the State Police made him emigrate to Austria in 1980, where he worked in an organisation helping emigrants. He studied philosophy at a university in London. He is an author of many poems, essays and works of art, he has published in several languages, including Latin. Since 1989 he has lived in Czech Republic and Austria.