27.05., 15.45 Uhr
After 1918, when Czechoslovakia was established as a new state, a small group of young visual artists, writers and architects gathered as a group named Devìtsil, which devoted itself to a new language of art that pointed against all common art forms of that time. My lecture will focus on the question of why the so-called ‘avant-garde language’ spread so rapidly that as the leading and most vivid expression it very soon dominated other art forms. I will concentrate especially on typographic forms of layouts, front pages and illustrations in Czech art of the 1920s. Most important for this avant-garde language were its international forms and contents, which were immediately recognisable in other central European countries - whereas in the Austria- Hungary Empire every nation had spoken in a different language that was incomprehensible to the others. A main focus will be devoted to the connection between the international avant-garde language and the Soviet revolution, or rather Marx’s and Engel’s revolutionary ideas in the Manifesto of the Communist Party. From a historical point of view it is possible to recognise a double shift contained in the international language of the historical avantgardes: on the one hand it became a historical form of expression, on the other hand it still has a strong impact on young artists; it is possible to find not only inspiration, but also direct quotations from key avant-garde pieces in their output.
Karel Srp is a chief curator at the Prague City Gallery. He has organised numerous exhibitions concerning Czech avant-garde artists like Karel Teige (1994, 2009), Toyen (2000), JindÅ™ich Å tyrský (2007), Josef Å Ãma (2006) and has cocurated a show on Czech Surrealism (1996). A further focus is on contemporary art, and he has published books on Karel Malich (2007) and Václav BoštÃk (2011). Most recently he has been working on František Kupka.