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House of Art
TUES–SUN 10:00–18:00

Collage

1994

collage, paper, 32 × 22 cm

This collage dates from the late phase of Kolář’s career, when he combined mirror-image fragments from reproductions of paintings or photographs of sculptures that were familiar from art history. Sometimes he depicted an object or an image that was duplicated in space and then horizontally integrated into a new composition. He used this technique frequently in the 1990s: it can be found in the ensemble Louvre – Women (1993), Šternberk Madonna (1996), and a manipulated portrait of the Czech writer Božená Němcová (originally painted by Josef Hellich in 1845).

KOLÁŘ JIŘÍ

(1914, Protivín – 2002, Kladno) Collage artist, poet. A member of Group 42, Crossroads and the Umělecká Beseda artists’ association. Kolář created his first works of visual art in the late 1940s, in the form of confrontations between similar or opposing motifs from various epochs. Text lay at the heart of Kolář’s artistic language. In the late 1950s and early 60s he explored the conceptual possibilities of typewritten texts in which letters had lost their original meanings, depriving signs of their functions. Another important shift in Kolář’s work came with his rollages, in which he cut up various reproduced images to create strips, which he then recontextualized in new compositions. One of his most fascinating discoveries was chiasmage: he took various types of lettering, musical scores, written correspondence, geographical and celestial maps, chessboards and photographs, tore them into scraps, and then rearranged them and glued them to a surface. This again stripped the signs of their original meanings and created an entirely new composition. Kolář’s “poems for the blind” were created by puncturing holes in the surface of white paper, so they can be perceived both by sight and by touch. His other experimental methods included analphabetograms, ventilages and other exploratory forms. Some of Kolář’s techniques from the early 1960s come close to the techniques that were being used by painters at the time, especially informel reliefs (stratiphies), abstract or tachist painting (collages consisting of scraps of coloured paper), lettrism (typograms) or minimal art. His tendency to order and explore his ideas in the form of cycles foreshadowed later developments in conceptual art. Kolář’s work represented a creative response to the legacy of the inter-war avant garde. In the 1950s and 60s he had a major influence not only on the art scene, but also on poetry, advertising, illustration, and show window arrangement.
collage, paper, 32 × 22 cm, purchased in 2021 with funding from the Czech Ministry of Culture
1973

Collage

Girl in a fur

Girl in a fur

undated
Concrete (Below a Slag-Heap)

Concrete (Below a Slag-Heap)

1983
Old Eroticism

Old Eroticism

1996
Wallachian Madonna

Wallachian Madonna

1921
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