The Swansea Festival of Czech and Slovak Surrealism 1998 – to give it its full title – had its beginnings in The Visual Word exhibition, in that I was able to find the finances to bring over the Czech poet Josef Janda to read both in Cardiff and Swansea as part of a programme of readings as part of the exhibition. I was intrigued by the fact that in both countries there existed the Czech and Slovak Surrealist group, the longest running Surrealist group in Europe. What started as the possibility of a small exhibition at Mission Gallery, became a three venue festival with Jan Svankmajer’s films at The Taliesin Arts Centre and visual art and poetry at both Mission Gallery and the Glynn Vivian Art Gallery. This marvellous opportunity could not have taken place without the enthusiasm and hard work of Sybil Crouch of the Taliesin Arts Centre, Jane Phillips, Mission Gallery and Alison Lloyd, Glynn Vivian Art Gallery. Again the beginning of a series of collaborations and exchanges that are still continuing. 

To accompany the exhibition the Group produced a publication: Invention, Imagination, Interpretation, A Retrospective Exhibition of the Group of Czech and Slovak Surrealists, which outlined the group’s history and present day practice.

Posted by:Keith Bayliss