If you walk down Petrin Hill in Prague, Czech Republic, a small sign invites you to come and visit the “Magical Cavern”. And there, right above Prague, where no other person lives, lies a small house. From the outside there’s nothing spectacular about it, but as soon as you step inside you enter a completely different world.
Gentle music is playing, luring you down the narrow stairs. The light is clear, yet soft, each painting perfectly illuminated so you can see every single detail. It isn’t just the paintings however. It is the building itself, the interior of which has been turned into a composition of branches and roots, of fairies and elves and other magical creatures. A place out of space and time.
Upstairs I met Reon Argondian, the artist who created the Magical Cavern as a gift to the city he was born in, in 1948. Reon left Prague in 1968 and lived in different European countries. His longest stay was in Brittany, France, where he lived and worked for 25 years. His art has been shown in 80 exhibitions worldwide, in France, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany, the USA and of course the Czech Republic. The only other permanent exhibition of his art can be visited in Görlitz, Germany at “Galerie Alena”. In 1993 Reon was invited to Prague and his exhibition in the Carolinum – a national, cultural monument, a symbol of Charles University – fascinated 40.000 visitors in less than two months. It was then that he decided to come home and gift the “Magical Cavern” to his city.
The Cavern is redecorated with approximately 80 new paintings every year and entices about 10.000 visitors per year.
This place is more than worth a visit. Make sure to take your time, so you can enjoy the colours, appreciate the subtle sensuality and get lost in Reon’s playful but intense take on mythology.
For more information, visit Reon’s Homepage, and if you happen to visit Prague, make sure to stop at the Magical Cavern, which is open daily from 10 am to 10 pm.