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Sunday, October 21, 2012

Have spacesuit, young technician!

In the 1970´s and 1980´s Soviet clubs of "young technicians" attended annual competition "COSMOS". During the competition exhibition they showed their skills in constructing small models of the real, but most often fantastic spacecrafts and orbital stations. The most talented young constructors came from the town Sumy, Ukraine. They won the first prize in 1979 for the model of planetary vehicle GAGARINETS. Three years later they amazed the jury with a futuristic spaceship RUSSIA. Both models appeared on the front cover of a hobby magazine MODELIST KONSTRUKTOR.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Atom Pop

Two "humanoid" atoms appear in the Czech 1959 comics written by Ljuba Štíplová and drawn by Miloš Nesvadba Alfík a Bětka, Atomíci (Alfík and Bětka, Atomies).

In the late 1950´s and early 1960´s there were two dominant symbols of the future: the spaceship and the atom. The term "atomic age", coined by New York Times journalist William L. Laurence, had been quckly adopted by the socialist media. Symbols of the atom were everywhere, most notable example is the Atomium monument at Expo 1958. Here are some examples of the nuclear optimism in the pop-culture. Above are two illustations by Jiří Pavlín and Gustav Šeďa for the Czech 1976 edition of Marcello Argilli´s modern fable Atomino. Atomino is described here as a "Pinocchio for the atomic age". The third picture is the cover of German 1979 edition, art by Manfred Bofinger.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Rotrekl on the U2 album

In 1995, one of the world´s most popular rock band U2 released an experimental album called Original Soundtracks 1. Brian Eno, producer of three previous U2 albums, contributed as a full partner. For this reason and due to the record's highly experimental nature, the band chose to release it under the name "Passengers" to distinguish it from U2's conventional albums.

For the cover of the album they used a cut-out from Teodor Rotrekl´s interior illustration for a book Šest dnů na Luně 1 (1963) - see below.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Neznayka in the City of Sun

Soviet writer Nikolay Nosov (1908 - 1976) frote several books of adventures of the little boy Neznayka (Neználek) and his friends. The second, Neznayka in the City of Sun (Neználek ve Slunečním městě, 1958 in Russian, Czech translation 1961) is set in the utopian City of Sun in many ways resembling the future communist society. For Czech children, ignorant about the political content, it had been one of the most popular books in the 1960´s and 1970´s. It had been illustrated by Jaromír Zápal (1923 - 1984) in a way that probably exceeds the original Soviet illustrations.

Zápal´s illustrations (above) had influenced the childhood of the future generation of Czech artists. No wonder some of them expressed the need for creative remix of the dominant artworks of their youth. The love/hate relationship to the Zápal´s pictures is evident in their ironical remakes by Pavel Karous (b. 1979) from 2002. See below.

Andromeda Nebula

Milan Kopřiva´s artwork for the Czech Edition of Ivan Yefremov´s Mlhovina v Andromedě (The Andromeda Nebula) from 1968.

Pre-WW II book covers

Zdeněk Burian had been active as an illustrator sice the end of 1920´s. In the decades of 1930´s and 1940´s he created several great cover artworks.

Big Question Marks

Illustrations for Ludvík Souček´s popular book Velké otazníky (Big Question Marks, 1967) about great mysteries of our history belong among the best Burian´s book artworks.