Jiří Šalamoun or Imaginable Views of the World
The book (edited by Jan Rous, selection and arrangement of images and monograph layout by Luboš Drtina, published by Baobab) has, to some extent, an unusual form that exceeds the monographic canon. It is primarily a monograph of his whole production – not only illustrations and graphic works, which are central and also the greatest part, but also those areas into which Jiří Šalamoun was gradually drawn: film (not only Maxipes Fík!), poster-making for film, theatre and exhibitions, and also album covers with richly illustrated textual inserts. It is necessary to mention that Šalamoun is not only a visual artist, but also the constructor and typographer of a large number of books. This makes many of these to a certain extent authorial books as he produced both the illustrations and layouts. The abundant pictures within (over 700 prints) are mostly based upon originals and these are supplemented by alternative versions, preparatory studies and sketches. At the same time, the book introduces Šalamoun's independent work. This, although often interconnected with literary motifs, consists of free-flowing pictorial alternatives of prints, tempera and gouache. The interconnection between his different modes of expression enables us to conceive of Šalamoun as a creator whose works diverge in a number of directions that nonetheless originate from a single source, being the artist's visual and intellectual viewpoint and attitude. This is reinforced by the book's textual dimension, presenting the historical and literary contexts and their transformations, as they are reflected in Šalamoun's works. Some of his works go beyond the usual interconnection between client and author; these include his graphic works and, especially, his poetry, picture-commented diaries and also his personal commentaries. The collection of commentaries, long-hidden but recently augmented, may include the poetic or the philosophical, but is always sarcastic. These diverse modes of output converge in the central position of his viewpoint. Thus, Šalamoun's work can be understood as a commentary and an interpretation that is being thought-through and experienced by him, and also as a dialogue with the themes that the artist has encountered and was coming to terms with through his eighty-years of life. The book is accompanied by lists of illustrated books, special editions and graphic layouts, graphic works and posters, and also a selection from exhibitions and a bibliography.