Karel Teige


Poetism is above all a way of life.  It is a function of life and at the same time the fulfillment of its purpose…It offers spiritual cleansing and moral health.  Life, with its tedium of work and daily monotony, would be meaningless, an empty shell, without an animating heart, without resilient sensibility, and without poetry.  It is poetry that thus becomes the sole purpose of a meaningful life, conscious of itself.

Karel Teige


I’ve recently been studying a bit about the life and work of Karel Teige, the Czech designer/artist/photographer/philosopher.  Under acknowledged by history, Teige is often compared to Moholy-Nagy.  Typically, the justification for his lack of acknowledgement is his being Czech, as opposed to being from a more economically ellite European country.  Personally, I see Teige as a bridge between the Russian Modernists and those in Western Europe.   Teige understood and anticpated Surrealism (with his collage work), and even the Situationist International (with his archietctural and utopian thinking).


Teige is probably most well known in this country for his collage work, both surreal and erotic.


Today, the world is controlled by money, by capitalism.  Socialism means that the world should be controlled by reason and wisdom, economically, purposefully, usefully.  Constructivism is the operative mechanism of such a control.  But reason would cease to be wise if it were to suppress the domain of sensibility in the process of its rule over the world:  instead of multiplication, it would bring impoverishment to life, since the only asset important for our happiness is the wealth or our feelings, the infinite realm of our sensibility.  And it is here that Poetism intervenes and comes to the rescue in the renewal of our emotional life, our joy, and our imagination.

Karel Teige


Not to understand Poetism is not to understand life!

Karel Teige


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