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Twisted Spoon Press

PO Box 21 - Preslova 12, 150 00 Prague 5, Czech Republic

Book details:
 
User's Manual'

[ excerpt ]

photos of book

Czech writing

series: image to word


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  a user's manual

by Jiří Kolář

translated from the Czech by Ryan Scott

artwork by the author


Written in the 1950s and ’60s, the “action poems” comprising a A User’s Manual were published in their complete form in 1969 when they were paired with the 52 collages of Weekly 1967, the first of Kolář’s celebrated series in which he commented visually on a major event for each week of
the year. Taking the form of directives, largely absurd, the poems mock communist society’s officialese while offering readers an opportunity to create their own poetics through the performing of the given directions. The collages on the facing pages to the poems are composed of stratified documents, image cutouts, newspaper clippings, announcements, letter fragments, reports, decontextualized words, oftentimes forming concrete patterns or the outlines of figures, to create a sort of “evidential” report on the events of that year. Text and image taken together, the volume displays Kolář’s enduring interest in extracting poetry from the mundane to demolish the barrier separating art from reality, or even to elevate reality itself through this dual poetics to the level of art. What art historian Arsén Pohribný wrote about Weekly 1968 equally applies to Weekly 1967: it “shocks with its abrupt stylistic twists” and is “a Babylonian, hybrid parable of multi-reality.” The volume also includes the complete Czech text as an appendix.

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What others say:

If we only regard Kolář's oeuvre as an assemblage of artworks we would miss its meaning, which lies in its overall message, in its synthesis of word and image, and most of all in its highlighting the fluid, protean, ambiguous nature of reality ...

— Marie Klimešová, Grimace of the Century

   

ISBN 9788086264547
142 pp., 17 x 20 cm
hardcover
52 halftone and color illus.
bilingual edition
poetry : art : avant-garde
RRP: $24 • £18

release dates:
UK: September 25, 2019
US: December 2, 2019



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