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House of Art
TUE–SUN 10.00–18.00

Kolář, Jiří / Collage

1973

collage, paper, 32 × 22 cm, purchased in 2021 with funding from the Czech Ministry of Culture

This work belongs to Kolář’s so-called prolages – a form that involved interspersing one fragmentary visual motif with another. In this way, for example, the shapes of real objects were interspersed with the structures of images or with silhouettes of animals, birds, butterflies and plants; the fragments became visual symbols of history. This Collage comes from the large cycle Birds, in which Kolář uses silhouettes of birds with different visual contents and interpretations, mainly drawn from art history. For example, the silhouettes are filled with images painted by Henri Rousseau or more general historical signs such as the stained-glass art from a cathedral that is inserted into the body of an eagle. 

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
1994

Kolář, Jiří / Collage

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