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Nur die turmfalken brunzen ruhig auf die 10 gebote



Author Jindrich Heisler
Drawings by Marie Cerminova, dite Toyen
Cover design by Jindrich Styrsky


 np (Prague): Surrealistische Edition, 1939. Soft cover. Buchzustand: Fine. 1st Edition. Oblong quarto (23.6 x 29 cm, 9-1/4 x 11-3/8 inches), wrappers, unpaginated(ii, 38pp), loose as issued. Front & rear cover collages, typography & book design by Jindrích Štyrský, with five drawings by Toyen. Edition of 40. Published in the first year of the Nazi occupation, "Only Kestrels Pee Quietly on the Ten Commandments" is the first of two cycles of work published clandestinely under the Germans. There is no colophon or indication of publisher or place. Copies were circulated privately. At this time, all public activities of modernists and liberals were declared illegal and suppressed. Until the end of the war, the surrealist group of Štyrský, Toyen and Heisler, with Karel Teige would continue working to produce powerful works in painting, poetry and photography, but now as an underground movement and part of the Inner Resistance. This work should be seen as both a surrealist statement and also an attempt to combat the insanity and degradation of meaning that was being encountered daily. In addition to the pointed spite to the Nazis, the surrealist group had undergone a severe disruption in 1937-38 with the defection of the leading surrealist poet Viteslav Nezval to the Stalinist camp as well as to anti-Semitism. Nezval had tried to dissolve the group, and would succeed in destroying Teige some 10 years hence in character assassination and the final orders for his arrest. The concerns were not only directed toward the menace of the Germans alone, but also to the pervasive totalitarian barbarism that threatened to engulf the entire world, and the unending darkness of the human psyche. As with other collaborations with Heisler, the poems are not meant to correspond to the art, but rather contribute to an overarching statement that does not lend itself to analysis. Štyrský would only live for another two years after this book. His collages are late and outrageous. He would collaborate with Heisler in the next cycle together with Toyen, and also produce with Heisler the renowned NA JEHLÁCH TECHTO DNÍ (On the Needles of These Days) before a premature death. As for Toyen, her work reaches the nadir of hopelessness in this cycle and the following one, Z KAZEMAT SPÁNKU (From the Casements of Sleep) in 1940. These began with LES SPECTRES DU DESERT (Paris, 1939) and STRELNICE (The Shooting-Gallery) (1939-40) and reached completion in SCHOVEJ SE, VÁLKO! (HideYourself, War!). These latter were only published after the war, in 1946.

Bibliographical materials.l., Surrealistische Édition, 1940. In-8° oblong, couverture illustrée, broché.
Date of publication 1940
Publicationfirst publication

Ryerson and Burnham Libraries, the Art Institute of Chicago : 709.04063 R46 no.688

Size29,00 x 24,00 cm
Number of pages39
PublisherSans éditeur
Copyright© ADAGP, Paris, 2013
Breton Auction, 2003Lot 629
Keywords, , ,
CategoriesCatalogues, books on art, artist's books
Set[Archives] Surréalistes tchèques
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1 Comment

Le titre est inexact : il s'agit des « crécerelles », petits rapaces proches des faucons. Il faut traduire « Seules les crécerelles pissent tranquillement sur le Décalogue ».