Jiri Kolar was born on September the 24th, 1914 in the Protivin, the former Czechoslovakia. Coming from a working class family, he trained from an early life to become a carpenter. This, training, he later claimed, helped him to be able to cut straight lines for his collages, where he used a scalpel to cut pictures out of magazines. Jiri Kolar was known not only as an artist or painter, but also as a translator and more importantly a writer and a poet. His writing was also the reason he ended up in arrest, due to it being proclaimed subversive under the Stalinist rule. He continued to write, despite there being a publication ban, which was not lifted until 1964. Jiri Kolar held his firs exhibition, which focused on collages, in 1937. While he continually combined painting and poetry, he abandoned his poetic work completely in the 1960’s, and focused solely to experiments in visual arts. He developed or helped develop many new techniques in collages one of them being the “Rollage” technique of making collages. This technique is when two images are cut into thin pieces and then glued back together. In his work, he included everyday life e.g. items such as zippers, cords, razorblades, etc. His first exhibition abroad, took place in London in 1963. He received the prize of the cenral committee in Prague in 1968, and a year later he won the first prize at the X. Biennale of Sao Paolo in Brazil. His exhibitions were shown across Europe, as well as Canada, Japan and South America. In 1975, a retrospective of his work was held at the Guggenheim Museum in New York. Jiri Kolar was a very versatile artist and a master of collage and his collages manifest both ironic wit as well as his dismay of the cultural and political disintegration. He lived in Paris since 1980, where he also obtained the French citizenship in 1984. Jiri Kolar died in Prague in 2002.
* 1914-09-24, Protivin, Czechoslovakia
+ 2002-08-11, Prague, Czech Republic