This exhibition is dedicated to one of the most remarkable Czech poets and visual artists associated with Modernism, Jiří Kolář (1914-2002). During the Communist regime in Czechoslovakia, Kolář encountered considerable challenges, including a prison sentence for the critical stance towards the system expressed in his poetry. Whether because “images” were less easily censurable than “words” or for other, personal reasons, from about 1959, he focused exclusively on visual arts – especially various experimental forms of collage. Yet most of his mixed-media works remained profoundly concerned with the word/image relationship, and can best be described as “visual” poetry.
The selection is representative of the main aspects of his oeuvre as it evolved over several decades. It includes a wide variety of collages in diverse techniques: both early works and those of his mature period; on very small scale and large ones; two-dimensional and sculptural.