ART+, all about the art market
June 2019 1392 

Kolář Jiří (1914 - 2002) Share on Facebook  Print 


Jiří Kolář ranks to the most significant Czech fine artists of the latter half of the 20th century. He launched his artistic career as autodidact, poet and translator. Equally as his artistic work, mainly executed in the form of collages, well-known is his poetry based on visualized text. Kolář was member of art groups Group 42, UB and Křižovatka (Crossroad). He represented an authority and personality around which intellectuals and artists gathered throughout his life; he coordinated various activities and the illegal literary edition called Petlice and, in 1977, was one of the signatories of Charta 77. From 1980, he and his wife Běla, also artist, lived in Paris where Kolář along with other Czech exiles supported publishing of the Revue K edition. From the 1950s, Kolář solely focused on art work in which he experimented with various forms of collage (e.g. reportage, prolage, magritage) – quite similarly as in his previous “evident” poetry. His collages are based on the Dadaistic principle, employing both the tendencies of Informal Art and Constructivism. One of his favorite methods is rollage when he fixes stripes cut out from various reproductions on the support next to each other. Kolář’s quotes from art history (he would cut out and use a large number of books, for example) already refer to the later Post-Modern principles. Kolář, however, also works with reproductions in a destructive manner, crumpling and destroying and again gluing them, while erasing selected parts of notoriously known paintings or covering some body parts with black stripes. He moreover often develops several variants of a single painting, in which the viewer alone can change the type of background in the cut-out part. In the spirit of the 1960s, which aimed at enjambments and overlaps of individual artistic disciplines, Kolář considered himself to be a poet. After the fall of the Communist regime in his native country in 1989, Kolář returned to Prague on a frequent basis, and there is even a gallery established under his name. He nevertheless also earned much respect abroad, thus becoming one of the few 20th-century Czech artists who became highly regarded on a global scale.

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