With his friend Toyen, whom he met in 1922, Styrsky was first a member of the Devetsil group that encompassed several avant-garde trend.  Through the group’s events, and the review Red, it kept the Czech public informed on the state of modern thought.  In Red Styrsky defended a conception of painting that he called “artificialism,” later viewing it as the link between cubism and surrealism: “Artificialist painting triggers poetic emotions that are not merely optical, and excites a sensibility not merely visual.  It diverts the viewer from the closed circle of his usual imagination, destroying the mechanism and system of continuous images.”  In Paris, in 1927, he was given an exhibition with a catalog prefaced by Philippe Soupault.  In 1933, along with other members of Devetsil, Styrsky was a cofounder of the Czech surrealist group, for which he illustrated the review Surrealismus.  He attracted notice with his series of colored collages, Le Cabinet de daménagement, and a cycle of paintings titled Racines.  A monograph on Styrsky appeared in Prague in 1938. Before his suicide, he composed a series of violently anticlerical collages.  Styrsky was essentially a revolutionary painter, with incisive innovations and voluntarily harsh and aggressive visual poetics.  A retrospective of his work was held in Prague in 1946, and many of his paintings were featured in the exhibition Imaginative Painting, organized by Frantisek Smejkal in 1964 at Hluboka and the Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague.  In 1970 a posthumous edition of Songes was published- a book written in his youth in which he recorded his dreams. 

Jindrich Styrsky

Born 1899 in Cermna (Czech Republic); died 1942 in Prague. 

Marriage, Collage, 1934