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KAREL TEIGE
country
Czech Republic
period
1915-1946

Karel Teige (Prague, 1900 – Prague, 1951) was an art critic, theorist, graphic artist, poet, author of programme texts, manifestos about visual arts, architecture and literature, editor of the avant-garde journals and miscellanies (Disk, Stavba, Red). He was leading figure of the Czech avant-garde in-betweens wars, which first appeared under the name Devĕtsil (later as Group of Surrealists ČR; in 1924 Teige published a manifesto Der Poetismus). In 1930 he lectured on sociology of architecture at Bauhaus.

At the first Devĕtsil exhibitions he exhibited cubist paintings and drawings. From 1923 he insisted on the integration of painting and poetry, from which emerged a new poetic genre of picture-poem. Following the program of Russian constructivists and supporters of production art, he declared the end of arts and abandonment of traditional art techniques. Teige was later dedicated to the design of books and magazines, illustrations, posters, typography, typomontage, photomontage and mise-en-scène. He was particularly interested in the books and journals’ design and usage of photomontage, posters and abstract typographical compositions executed in the spirit of Czech constructivism.

During the time Teige was interested in Surrealism, he created a cycle of collages with themes of phantasmagoric transformation of the female body (Šmejkal). Reproductions of woodcuts in "Zenit" – Summer (No. 6, 1921), Prague (No. 8, 1921) and Linoleum (No. 11, 1922) – are based on the cubist dissolution of form and expressive stylization. "Zenit" Gallery advertised Teige's works, but the track of them is lost.

Irina Subotić