Ladislav Novák

artist name
The Czech artist Ladislav Novák (1925-1999) is known as a pioneer in the field of visual and sound poetry, but achieved most of his fame with his so-called froissages. He developed this technique around 1964: a rumpled sheet of paper has a certain line structure and this becomes the starting point for a drawing. Jiři Kolár, a friend of Novák, followed the same method later on.
Around the same time, Novák also started making topological drawings. These ‘half automatic’ pictures consist of one uninterrupted line that crosses nowhere, but – visible through the paper – it can continue on the other side. In fact, Novák loved experimenting. Before he embarked on his froissages and topological drawings, he had tried out so-called alchimages whereby pages from illustrated magazines were chemically treated. He also made drawings by using candle smoke and called them fumages. Novák often applied several techniques in one work as well, the most popular combination being froissage and alchimage.
During his lifetime, Novák exhibited in several important foreign galleries, like Galleria Schwarz in Milan, Galleria Ferrari in Verona, Donguy in Paris and Studio Morra in Naples. In 1971, his work was also part of the konkrete poëzie (concrete poetry) retrospective in the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam.
Novák presented alchimages and froissages in Galerie A on two occasions, namely in 1976 and 1981. During the latter show a handmade catalogue (twenty copies) was presented. Henri Chopin wrote the introduction.