Surrealism and Photography in Czechoslovakia: On the Needles of Days, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Surrealism and Photography in Czechoslovakia

On the Needles of Days, 1st Edition

By Krzysztof Fijalkowski, Michael Richardson, Ian Walker


214 pages

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Surrealism and Photography in Czechoslovakia: On the Needles of Days sheds much-needed light on the location of the greatest concentration of Surrealist photography and examines the culture and tradition within which it has taken root and flourished. The volume explores a rich and important artistic output, very little of which has been seen outside of its land of origin. Based on extensive research at museums in Prague and Brno and many conversations with participants in and historians of the movement, Krzysztof Fijalkowski, Michael Richardson and Ian Walker analyse how this photographic work has developed cohesively and rigorously, from the beginnings of Czech Surrealism in 1934, to the intriguing researches of the present-day Czech and Slovak Surrealist group by way of mysterious veiled responses to the repressive contexts with which they were faced from the 1950s to the 1980s. The main chapters, ordered chronologically, are intersected with shorter texts examining specific works. The reader will find in this volume images that present challenges to our understanding of how photographic work has been used within surrealism, pinpointing individual pictures whose dynamic charge may induce instants of compelling interrogation and disruption.


'The authors all have deep backgrounds in the study of Surrealism and photography and their contributions weave together in seamlessly … those who read it will find its pages "very rich for eyes."' Rain Taxi Review of Books

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction; Years of long days: surrealism in Czechoslovakia, Michael Richardson and Krzysztof Fijalkowski; Photo analysis A: poetry, revolution and the city, Krzysztof Fijalkowski; Jindrich Å tyrský and Czech surrealist photography in the 1930s, Ian Walker; Photo analysis B: Paris Afternoon, Ian Walker; Between photograph and poem: Å tyrský and Heisler’s On the Needles of these Days, Ian Walker; Photo analysis C: impossible objects, Krzysztof Fijalkowsi; Objective poetry: post-war Czech surrealist photography and the everyday, Krzysztof Fijalkowski; Photo analysis D: In the Courtyard, Michael Richardson; Emila Medková, the magic of despair, Krzysztof Fijalkowsi; Photo analysis E: At The castle of La Coste, Michael Richardson; ’Island beacons in the sea of reality’: the photographic cycles of Vilém Reichmann and Jírí Sever, Ian Walker; Photo analysis F: J.S. Bach: Fantasia in G Minor, Ian Walker; Complementary knowledge: photography in the contemporary group of Czech-Slovak surrealists, Krzysztof Fijalkowski and Michael Richardson; Appendices; Bibliography; Index.

About the Authors

Krzysztof Fijalkowski is Senior Lecturer, Fine Art, Norwich University of the Arts.

Michael Richardson is Visiting Fellow, Centre for Cultural Studies, Goldsmiths, University of London and was recently Visiting Professor in the Centre for Global Studies, Hitotsubashi University, Tokyo.

Ian Walker is Reader in the History of Photography, University of Wales, Newport.

About the Series

Studies in Surrealism

Studies in Surrealism
With scholarly interest in Surrealism greater than ever, the Studies in Surrealism series serves as a forum for key areas of Surrealist inquiry today. This series extends the ongoing academic and popular interest in Surrealism, evident in recent studies that have rethought established areas of Surrealist activity and engagement, including those of politics, the object, photography, crime, and modern physics. Expanding and adding various lines of inquiry, books in the series examine Surrealism's intersections with philosophical, social, artistic, and literary themes. Potential subjects to be examined in the context of Surrealism include but are not limited to: nature; queer studies; humor and play; science; theory in the 1950s and 1960s; the New Novel; Surrealist activities beyond Paris. Proposals are welcomed for both monographs and essay collections dealing with the above subjects or with discussions of Surrealism in other aspects and genres. Monographic writings on artists and writers who have been generally overlooked by English-language scholarship (for instance, Victor Brauner, Toyen, Jorge Camacho) would also fall within the scope of this series.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
ART / History / General