HEISLER, JINDRICH. SURREALISM UNDER PRESSURE 1938-1953

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Jindrich Toman, Matthew S. Witkovsky, Chicago, 2012.

Hardcover, d.j., 144 pp., 109 color, 7 b/w illus.

Czech poet and photographer Jindřich Heisler (1914–1953) joined the Czech Surrealist Group in 1938, just as Nazi occupation of the country was driving the movement and Czech artists underground. Heisler published his first book of poetry a year later. In his brief and courageous career—Heisler died suddenly at the age of thirty-eight—he produced some of the most remarkable assemblage work of the Surrealist movement, including what is arguably the single-most important photobook produced in the 20th century, From the Strongholds of Sleep (1940-41).

This gorgeously illustrated volume—with eighty color images of Heisler's assemblage pieces—introduces English-speaking audiences to his work, translating many of his writings for the first time and offering in-depth analysis of his postwar years in Paris in the company of André Breton, Benjamin Péret, the illustrator Toyen, and other major figures of the Surrealist movement.

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