[ excerpt ]
Listen to Novák's
||the transformations of mr. hadlíz
by Ladislav Novák
translated from the Czech by Jed Slast
artwork by the author
Ladislav Novák was one of the more remarkable and versatile figures in Czech
art over the past forty years. A pioneer in sound and concrete poetry, he became
best known for the techniques he developed in the visual arts. Though a solitary
figure, he is properly associated with Surrealism, to which he maintained a close
affinity throughout his life.
The Transformations of Mr. Hadlíz is a combination of
poetry, prose, and image. The twelve pictures, taken from
a Danish calendar for 1976, are created by "froissage," a particular
method that Novák invented of interpreting the random lines formed by crumpling paper.
The text to the art was written in the spirit of automatism virtually overnight,
and some sixteen years later in 1992. The volume is completed by
poems from Novák's alter ego, Mr. Hadlíz, as well as a conversation
between the author and his subject.
What others say:
It is clear to the poet's eyes that it's impossible to separate
imagination from reality, because the former is just a more beautiful aspect of the other,
it's hidden projection behind the external shape of things. Reality as we see it
indifferently spread over the pages of glossy magazines of unified look and shallow color
is nothing more than a charge for Ladislav Novák. He removes all that is superfluous in
it to let out the shining miracle trapped inside.
— Edouard Jaguer
After experiments with collage, conceptual art and "earth art" — he once painted the surface of a frozen
lake — Novák, in the '60s, developed his current medium which he calls froissage. These delicate watercolor
fantasies are made by crumpling paper, straightening it out and washing the surface with diluted ink to bring out
the random linear patternings formed by the creases. Among these lines the artist hunts down hidden images,
fixes them in with pale delicious watercolor.
— Jo Ann Lewis, The Washington Post
[F]inely wrought — a small, delicate (if surrealistic) gem.
14.5 x 20.5 cm
12 full-color images
softcover with flaps
prose : poetry : art
UK: January 2007
US: July 2002
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