Fotograf Magazine

Vilém Kříž

There are people, who stick in your mind. One meeting with Vilém Kříž on 26 February 1990 will always stay in my memory. I had the feeling that this not-so-large, scrawny man, who radiated energy, was made mainly of high-voltage nerves endangering his bodily container. He spoke about his life and photographic paths after leaving the country: most often in bare facts. He came from a Christian family. He started taking pictures when he was young, and he learned typography. He had wanted to found a printing company. His books, Krása nepomíjející – Immortal Beauty (1939), V jiném čase – Of Another Time (1940), and Opuštění ožívají – Resurrection of Abandoned (1942), relate to that wish. All but the last of them are mostly likely now unknown. The title of the first book suggests that Kříž, at that time, had not yet come across Surrealism. Jaromír Funke, whom Kříž had chosen as his teacher at the State Graphics School (Státní grafická škola) in Prague, introduced him to the genre. Kříž began attending the school in 1940 (he graduated in 1946). It was a fateful meeting: were it not for Funke, Kříž might not have discovered Surrealism, a movement he would draw from his entire life.

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#12 Reconstruction