(*17.4.1935) - český grafik a ilustrátor Jiří Šalamoun vystudoval na Akademii výtvarných umění v Praze (1955-61) v ateliéru Vladimíra Pukla a Vladimíra Silovského, potom na Vysoké škole grafiky a knižního umění v Lipsku (zde se také seznámil se svou že
(*17.4.1935) - český grafik a ilustrátor Jiří Šalamoun vystudoval na Akademii výtvarných umění v Praze (1955-61) v ateliéru Vladimíra Pukla a Vladimíra Silovského, potom na Vysoké škole grafiky a knižního umění v Lipsku (zde se také seznámil se svou ženou - rovněž výtvarnicí a ilustrátorkou Evou Natus-Šalamounovou). Od roku 1990 je docentem, po roce 1992 profesorem Vysoké školy uměleckoprůmyslové v Praze. Současně působil jako profesor na Letní akademi v Slcburku, v roce 1992 také na Miami University. Šalamoun se věnuje především ilustraci a typografii (například Sławomir Mrożek: Věrný strážce, 1966; Charles Dickens: Kronika Pickwickova klubu, 1971; James F. Cooper: Poslední Mohykán, 1972, a dále řada knížek pro děti), ale i kreslenému filmu, za který byl rovněž oceněn (Láááska, 1977, Maxipes Fík (1976-84). In: KDO BYL KDO v našich dějinách ve 20. století nar. 17.4.1935 v Praze 1952-1961 – Akademie výtvarných umění v Praze (prof. V. Pukl, V. Silovský) 1956 -1959 – Hochschule fűrGraphik und Buchkunst,Leipzig Od 1990 – docent na Vysoké škole uměleckoprůmyslové v Praze Od 1993 profesor na VŠUP v Praze Samostatné výstavy (výběr): 1986 – GHMP Praha 1980 – Berlin, České centrum 1998 – Salzburg – Zeichnungen, Graphik 2001 – České muzeum umění, Praha Ceny: 1966 – Cena Nakladatelství Mladá fronta 1976 – Bienále Brno – stříbrná medaile 1982-IBA Leipzig – bronzová medaile 1986 – Gutenbergova cena města Lipska 1990 – cena za Nejkrásnější knihu roku, Praha In: http://www.hollar.cz/
Jiří Šalamoun is an illustrator not merely of great literary works such as those of Charles Dickens, Ivan Bunin, Saltykov-Shchedrin or Tristram Shandy, for which his illustrations represent the pinnacle of his work, but also of Czech illustration from the sixties to the eighties of the 20th century. In equal greatness alongside these treasures ranks his extensive illustrative work related to literature for children of all ages. Awareness of this purview is important, as it contains not merely the stories of Maxipes Fík, which also secured a presence in children’s film and which are beloved by the smallest of his fans, but also spans such extensive pictorial cycles as the Kidnapping of Princess Violínka by W. Žukrowski and Pan Tau by Ota Hofman. His rich illustrations have also accompanied The Last of the Mohicans by J. F. Cooper, Tolkien’s The Hobbit, the children’s poems of Pavel Šrut, and this catalogue of his breadth terminates with literature known to young readers of more advanced age, such as the books of Brautigan or Tracy’s Tiger by W. Saroyan. All of these books, or to be more precise, these picturescapes, have a common foundation in Šalamoun’s concept of illustration, which consider it not merely an accompaniment, but an interpretation, a further opening of the text that appeals to sight.
For this reason Jiří Šalamoun is also recognized as a masterful narrator of stories “translated” into images. What work he has done in cycles, in picturescapes, must be qualified by the other field of his creative activity, which is film. Not merely the previously mentioned authorship of his multipart series on Maxipes Fík – for this has a literary form, which was made manifest in film, but is also made further manifest in a great number of subjects, bibelots, puzzles, T-shirts, by which Maxipes Fík has broken through in other transformations into the public domain. Jiří Šalamoun is close to film in a far deeper sense. It could be stated that in a certain way he thinks in the manner of film – not merely in films themselves, but also in his illustrations, above all in cases where they have been developed into an extensive cycle, as was the case with Cooper’s The Last of the Mohicans (1972), The Pickwick Papers of Charles Dickens (1971), in Princess Violínka or in Tolkien’s Hobbit. Šalamoun’s “film sensibility” has one particular aspect, which colors the tone of Šalamoun’s illustrations, and that is its closeness to one of the oldest film genres, the silent film. In their essence his stories are a kind of grotesque – the characters of Šalamoun’s stories indicate fitful movement, stiff gestures, accented mimicry. By their tuning they suggest Chaplin or Frigo, while Šalamoun then recalls Laurel and Hardy – whose stories may provoke laughter from us, but in the end the disenfranchisement and loneliness of characters who never managed to anchor their lives at the same time conjures up a peculiar sadness.
In his illustrations Šalamoun is not a narrator who would simply present his story, or describe its action – his illustrations are something between interpretation and commentary. His interpretations enable us to understand the meaning of the story, indeed they almost always reveal something significant, something universal, which need not necessarily be of the most cheerful character, but whose lightened format enables us to accept it. The independence, uniqueness and unrepeated quality of Šalamoun’s exposition of the world, embedded as it is in those various and sundry books which are his great passion, thus guide us along the theatre of the world, and represent to us the eternal theatrum mundi in which lay hidden our own role as well.
This manner of “exposing” the world has a specific genesis with Šalamoun. In the second half of the fifties, he studied three years in Lipsko, a tenure that may have strengthened his “expressionist” leanings, but in essence merely emphasized that which was his own, an awareness of belonging to the culture of Central Europe, in which until recently merged all that belonged not only to Czechs, but also to Germans and Jews.
Yet how can one creative mind, one artistic imagination, which always leads us in some way toward an understanding the world, connect the stories of the city of Hloupětín with the stories of Maxipes Fík? Šalamoun’s understanding of the world meanders along varied paths, it penetrates the labyrinth of the world, whose various trails may lead all the way to the heaven of the heart, or again to the dust of childhood itself. Šalamoun’s perennial guide to this labyrinth is of course humor, which makes almost all paths more passable. He is sarcastic, at times acerbic; for the children’s world he is nonetheless shaded by a gentleness which disguises nothing. Šalamoun’s illustrations belong among the most significant expressions of Czech post-war art, not merely in connection with the book, but in all of his work. Their meaning and power most likely resides in the fact that, in their expression, their malleable environments, and their insight, they are an inseparable part of the whole of his work.