Jiří Šindler: Books

The exhibition is taking place at the Art Archive as part of the Polička/​Shelf project.

The work of Jiří Šindler in the area of illustration, fine art printmaking, font design, calligraphy, and author’s books is luckily described in detail in a number of catalogues from his solo shows; let us thus look upon it as the contents of a life.

Many people visited his lettering courses and many more could have seen him in his studio, most often with a pen or brush, as sat and did calligraphy or designing fonts – “painting letters”. What exactly does it mean when someone does this, what is it like to devote one’s life to letters, writing, fonts?

We all have the foundation for this notion in us, if we consider what it is we do when we write. It can be just a message on a scrap of paper. We perform a quite comprehensive and complex activity – through physical movement we give physical form to symbols that represent words, intermediaries of communication – without thinking about it at all. How is writing perceived by someone who realizes all this with every stroke?

Jiří Šindler illustrated and worked on many books; always with a strong opinion, always with humility and understanding towards the author’s world, he created a visual environment compatible not only with his way of thinking, but also his way of speaking, and his literary form as such.

As an illustrator, he always chooses a different approach: meditative paintings for the stories of Adolf Rudnický, subtle visual postscripts for the poems of Ivan Blatný, and in a collection of Russian stories entitled “The Case History of a Cruel Age”, he pays individual attention to each author while simultaneously creating a stylistic whole. Each graphic layout requires a similar approach, even when the book has no illustrations. When we keep to just fonts – choosing a suitable font; that means understanding its effects, knowing its history and graphical essence. And the same goes for its format, binding, cover…

A book is a physical whole. It is not just text, which can take a number of forms. A specific book is one of them, a good creator of books chooses the best one of all, creates the best of all possible worlds… The creator of an author’s book is responsible for all its elements: text, images, integration, and awareness of history. Creation of a book is interconnection and integration, it is “gesamtkunstwerk”.

Curator: Lucie Rohanová