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Jirí Kolár

Jirí Kolár

*  1914 Provitín
† 2002 Prag

Jiri Kolár was born in Protivín/Czechoslovakia in 1914. At the age of twenty he encountered surrealistic collages at the Mozarteum in Prague, which already at that time only consisted of reproductions. Since 1943 Kólar worked as a freelance author, published poems and translations and worked as an editor for the association Dílo in Prague between 1945 and 1948. He was co-founder of the ‚Gruppe 42', an association of Czech artists and men of letters and he was a member of the group ‚Kreuzung'. In 1953 Kolár spent months under arrest because his texts were regarded as subversive during the time of Stalinism. In spite of a publication ban, which was not lifted until 1964, he continued to write poems, ballets and dramas. Around 1959 Kolár abandonned his poetic work to attend exclusively to visual arts: he developed the'Rollage'-technique, executed chiasmages, rumples, assemblages and visual poetry. He included materials from everyday-life like hairs, razor blades, zippers, cords et al. in his works. Over the years Kolár experimented with text and image, combined poetry and visual arts to colour and touch poems and varied his forms in many different ways. Circle rollages and transparent poems were executed and finally he began with three dimensional works and produced miniature-objects.
In 1968 he received the prize of the central committee in Prague, one year later the first prize at the X. Biennale of Sao Paulo. Whereas his trips until then only led him through Europe, he now visited Japan, Canada and the USA. In 1970 he suffered from a stroke, but soon he regained his creative powers and developed kinetic rollages and clay-poems. In 1975 his works were shown at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York. Since 1980 Kolár lived in Paris and obtained French citizenship in 1984. In 1990 he participated in the Biennale in Venice. In 1992 he once more obtained Czech citizenship. The versatile artist died in Prague in 2002.