Jiří Kolář was a Czech writer and poet who moved into art via visual poetry and the effects produced by the letters of a typewriter. His two-dimensional work of collages that sought to disturb and revisit more or less famous images received wide international recognition.
His three-dimensional work is less well known; working with a variety of large and small objects from daily life, he covered them with layers of entrelacs of ancient typefaces and elements of astronomical maps, transforming them into mysterious objects that were nevertheless still recognisable.
The titles of his works, Planche à laver chantante, Sceptre du roi des boulangers are in themselves magical objects that bring to mind fairytales and dreams.
Born in 1914 in Bohemia, with close links to Czech dissidents, Jiří Kolář lived in exile in Paris from 1980 until he returned to Prague in 1999, where he died in 2002. Major retrospectives of his work have been organised, notably by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (1978), at the Museo Nacional Reina Sofia in Madrid (1995) and at the Kunstforum in Regensburg (2013). His first exhibition at Galerie Lelong dates from 1982, 35 years ago.