Czech Surrealism

July 20, 2015
How Czech Surrealism Saved

Then the heart came gently to rest, like
a black colored, compact marble, in the plush
foundations of some unintelligible and
hardly audible speeches, in whose sinuous
pauses it rolled until it finished when you look at the maze
of developing plumage marbles.

Plumage marbles (also referred to as cat’s eyes or Jubilees) are the clear marbles with a coloured swirl in the center. Much of Heisler’s work uses model props—dolls, toy soldiers, doll’s home furnishings, miniature animals—taking you back once again to a child’s hurting joy in items. Also reminders of just how younger Heisler was at 1938 when he joined the Czech Surrealist Group and began collaborating with a few of its leaders—Jindřich Štyrský, Karel Teige, and Toyen (she opted this gender-neutral title for by herself in the early 1920s)—artists that would in the course of time develop an important section of his network in concealing.

Heisler’s first Surrealist collaboration, The Specters of Desert (1939), ended up being an independently imprinted guide, a group of poems he blogged in reaction to 12 idiosyncratic drawings that Toyen had made a couple of years earlier—dream imaginings of desiccated phantom and totemic figures in a bare land or an open ocean. The limited edition of 300 tiny publications coincided very nearly precisely utilizing the intrusion of Czechoslovakia and will have identified both as degenerate musicians and artists. They'd the poems converted from Czech into French, changed Heisler’s name from Jindřich to Henri, and falsely attributed book to Albert Skira, Paris.

It’s already been pointed out that this first publication, with imagery of an abandoned and nightmare globe, meticulously and privately produced in order to guarantee the book’s survival, had been a metaphor that prefigured the rest of Heisler’s person life. With defiance and commitment, Heisler carried on surviving in Prague and dealing as a Surrealist, pressing forward the idea of guide art and exploring techniques of photographic montage. In 1941, with the aid of two professional professional photographers and a bookbinder, Heisler and Toyen created From the Strongholds of Sleep: Materialized Poems, a book of great originality (31 pages in all; there are six extant copies).


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