Czech poet and photographer Jindrich Heisler (1914-1953) joined the Czech Surrealist Group in 1938, just as Nazi occupation of the country was driving the movement and Czech artists underground. Heisler published his first book of poetry a year later. In his brief and courageous career-Heisler died suddenly at the age of thirty-eight-he produced some of the most remarkable assemblage work of the Surrealist movement, including what is arguably the single-most important photobook produced in the 20th century, From the Strongholds of Sleep (1940-41).
This gorgeously illustrated volume-with eighty color images of Heisler's assemblage pieces-introduces English-speaking audiences to his work, translating many of his writings for the first time and offering in-depth analysis of his postwar years in Paris in the company of Andre Breton, Benjamin Peret, the illustrator Toyen, and other major figures of the Surrealist movement.
Matthew S. Witkovsky is chair and Ellen and Richard Sandor Curator of Photography at the Art Institute of Chicago, and the editor of Avant-Garde Art in Everyday Life (Yale). Jindrich Toman is a professor of Slavic linguistics and Czech culture at the University of Michigan, and a nephew of Jindrich Heisler.