“THE DIRECT TRANSITION OF EVERYDAY REALITY INTO SUPER-REALITY”: STYRSKY’S SURREALISTIC NEEDLES OF THESE DAYS, 1945
STYRSKY, Jindrich and HEISLER, Jindrich. Na Jehlach Techto Dni (On the Needles of These Days). (Prague): F.R. Borovy, (1945). Slim octavo, original photographic wrappers. $2500.
First trade edition of Styrsky’s haunting photo-essay on the Nazi occupation, with 28 provocative heliogravures.
Styrsky photographed store windows, mannequins, and faded signs, “in order to capture the direct transition of everyday reality into super-reality” (Srp, 19). “This use of the term ‘super-reality’ would seem to indicate that Styrsky was a surrealist in his photographic work as well as his painting. And yet Styrsky had been photographing shop windows, funereal objects and fairgrounds since 1920, predating his involvement with Surrealism by more than a decade” (Alice Whittenburg). “Because there are no people in Styrsky’s photos, the dolls and statuary take on an even more metaphoric weight; they are mute witnesses in a ghost town suspended in time… Hallucinatory in the best Surrealist tradition, Czech poet Jindrich Heisler’s prose text weaves a spell around Styrsky’s photos” (Roth, 116). In Styrsky’s words, “The whole principle of taking photographs lies in being surprised at finding a certain object and thinking about this discovery in the sense of Surrealism.” This melancholy reminiscence of the Nazi occupation “remains a haunting photobook, 50 years after the war. It is a prime example of one of the photobook’s great truths— it’s not necessarily the individual pictures that count, but what you do with them” (Parr & Badger, 197). Typographic design by Karel Teige. Preceded by the very rare small, clandestine edition of 1941, with original tipped-in silver gelatin prints. Open Book, 140.
Text block neatly recased into original wrappers, light spotting to bottom margin of first few leaves. An extremely good copy.