Hans Richter’s “Prague” (1924)

Translated from the German by Timothy O. Benson.  From Between

Two Worlds: A Sourcebook of Central European Avant-Gardes,

1910-1930.  (The MIT Press.  Cambridge, MA: 2002).

• • •

What one has to fight for in many large centers, and is scarcely there despite the fight, exists in Prague: a creatively active atmosphere.  This atmosphere gives growth to a modern conviction, a collective working spirit and that activity which arises out of a “belief in life.”  The vivacity of a multitude of young artists is manifested in several journals, most strongly in the anthology Život (Life).  I know of no illustrated book that would be timelier.  Without the compelling continuity of a certain purposefulness — but convincing as photography from 1924.  Karel Teige made the book in collaboration with his friends Seifert and Krejcar.

Karel Teige, americo-roman oriented, smart and sensitive, is occupied with the publication of an ever-growing number of periodicals.  The title page for Život belongs to a series [483] of “Picture Poems” of Teige’s that — tired of the senselessness of easel painting — he has put in the context of the book as a reproduction technology.  He and his comrades, periodicals, groups, and energies are absolutistly directed by the beautiful Toyen, native of Prague, with a command of the Czech language and who with only this language managed in Paris.  Painter by profession, we have presented all of her pictures, which neither in their power nor refinement, are any less advanced than those of her male colleagues; this personal work — faultless in both form and content — which she has been kind enough to put at our disposal.

[Originally published as “Prag,” in G no. 3 (June 1924)]

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~ by Ross Wolfe on October 23, 2010.

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