The Poetics of Silence

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If Eyes Could Scratch, 1970 Mixed Media Collage 15 1/4 X 11 1/2 Inches © Courtesy of the artist & Pavel Zoubok Gallery
The Poetics of Silence

531 West 26th Street
New York, NY 10011
November 19th, 2009 - December 19th, 2009

Tue-Sat 10-6
collage, mixed-media


PAVEL ZOUBOK GALLERY is pleased to present a solo exhibition of important collages and early objects by Czech collagist and poet JIŘĺ KOLÁŘ (1914-2002), whose work was first introduced to American audiences through major retrospectives at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (New York, NY) and the Albright-Knox Art Gallery (Buffalo, NY) during the late 1970s. Please join us for the opening reception on Thursday, November 19 from 6-8pm, or during the run of the exhibition, which continues through December 19.

JIŘĺ KOLÁŘ’s work, as both a poet and visual artist, emerges from the politically charged atmosphere of the Central European avant-garde during the 1950s and 1960s. In a time marked by social and political repression, his work stood as a powerful symbol of resistance, resulting in years of exile from his native Prague. In response to what Kolář saw as the abuse and degradation of language by those in power, he developed numerous collage techniques, establishing a purely visual means of expression that has often been called “poetry of silence”.

Born in Protivín on September 24, 1914, JIŘĺ KOLÁŘ began his career as a distinguished young poet, translator and designer but by the late 1960s became more widely known as a visual artist. He was a member of several avant-garde circles in Prague, most notably the Group 42, and was profoundly influenced by the poetry of Seifert, Marinetti, Joyce and Pound. Through the 1950s and 1960s he moved progressively away from the written word towards a purely visual expression of his ideas. Kolář gradually developed his formal vocabulary (Crumplage, Rollage, Chiasmage, Ventilage, Razor Poems to name just a few of his techniques), allowing him to combine various layers of meaning and order. These were first published in his Dictionary of Methods (1986).

Although JIŘĺ KOLÁŘ’s presence on the American scene diminished in the years following his New York retrospectives, his work has continued to be exhibited in museums and galleries internationally. The Poetics of Silence features over forty key works from the 1960s - 1980s, exploring a broad range of themes (nature, art history, language, memory) that collectively articulate Kolář’s unique contribution to the theory and practice of collage.