Josef Šíma, known as Joseph Sima abroad, relocated to Paris at the age of thirty. He kept strong bonds to Czechoslovakia, his hometown Jaroměř, Prague, and Brno – Šíma’s homeland inspired his art production and he also played an important intermediary role between the Czech and French avant-gardes.
Šíma’s encounter with the young French poets, spearheaded by René Daumal and Roger Gilbert-Lecomte, deeply affected him and, as he highlighted many times, they best understood his art. Along with them and other artists he founded the group called Le Grand Jeu which criticized European rational civilisation and which drew inspiration from Indian philosophy, the unconscious mind, and experimental metaphysics. The group’s members tried to overcome real-world borders, using various means from poetry to meditation techniques.
Visitors to the exhibition at the Waldstein Riding School may admire Šíma’s portraits, city sceneries, landscapes, torsos in the landscape, and mythological scenes as well as paintings, drawings, and photographs by his companions, primarily Maurice Henry and Artür Harfaux. Furthermore, Šíma’s collaboration with other remarkable poets will be presented such as that with Pierre Jean Jouve and George Ribemot-Dessaignes including illustrations for their books.