PL EN


Journal
2007 | 55 | 4 | 316-328
Article title

SURREALISM AND CZECH FUNCTIONALISM

Authors
Title variants
Languages of publication
CS
Abstracts
EN
To date, many art historians have devoted themselves to the study of the history of Surrealism and Functionalism. Still, we do not know very much of the actual interrelationship between both -isms. A group of scientific Functionalists formed itself around Karel Teige in Czech architecture in the early 1930s. These were mostly orthodox rationalists who denied that architecture could have any artistic status and who also ignored the psychological impact of architectural form. Under Teige's leadership they pointed a critical finger at Le Corbusier. But as Teige began to get closer to Surrealism, he could hardly ignore Breton's onslaughts against agitated rationalism in modern architecture, particularly so when Breton had repeated such attacks in Prague in 1935. Teige was also impressed by Breton's call to overcome the contradictions existing between reality and dream, science and art, between rationality and emotivity. Even though the Prague theoretician had not abandoned his ideal of science-based architecture, he did admit that Functionalism would be still more scientific if, using psychoanalysis, it would explore the impact of its architectural form on the human soul. Theses and hypotheses of this kind appeared in Teige's 'Sovetska arkhitektura' (Soviet Architecture, 1936), in a preface to the book by Ladislav Zak 'Obytna krajina' (Inhabited Landscape, 1947), and may also be found in the texts written by architects Karel Janu, Jiri Stursa, Jiri Vozenilek, Jiri Kroha, eventually Vit Obrtel, who, however, had stood outside Teige's circle at that time. Employing psychoanalytical arguments taken over from Georges Bataille, Teige also began criticizing the tendencies in Soviet architecture of the 1930s towards what he called pompous and menacing monumentality. The interest of Czech scientific Functionalists in Surrealism and psychoanalysis did not lead to the emergence of any 'Surrealist architecture'. It was, however, instrumental in enriching architectural form by adding emotional components, even leading to a certain affinity between Functionalism and organic architecture. Le Corbusier's architecture also ceased to be tabooed by Teige's circle. The most interesting testimony to that shift comes in the Volman Villa in Celakovice near Prague (1938-1939), built by a team of architects Janu - Stursa, representing a kind of collage collected from Le Corbusieresque elements, features that eventually came to be discussed by Surrealists during the 1930s.
Journal
Year
Volume
55
Issue
4
Pages
316-328
Physical description
Document type
ARTICLE
Contributors
author
  • R. Svacha, Ustav dejin umeni AV CR, v. v. i., Husova 4, 110 00 Praha 1, Czech Republic
References
Document Type
Publication order reference
Identifiers
CEJSH db identifier
07CZAAAA03386957
YADDA identifier
bwmeta1.element.473f9d16-b686-3491-8420-319b5928deb5
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