Karel Teige (Prague, 1900 – 1951) was an art critic, theorist, graphic artist, poet, author of programme texts, manifestos about visual arts, architecture and literature, editor of the avant-garde journals.
He studied art at Charles University in Prague (1919 – 1923). He travelled to Paris in 1922, and in 1925 to Moscow and Leningrad.
He was the leading figure of the Czech avant-garde in-betweens wars, which first appeared under the name Devĕtsil (in 1924 Teige published a manifesto Der Poetismus). Teige was its leading theorist, and editor of the Revolučni sbornik Devĕtsil from 1922 to 1923. He participated in the Bazaar of Modern Art (1923), and later Devĕtsil exhibitions.
At the first Devĕtsil exhibitions he exhibited Cubist paintings and drawings. From 1923 he insisted on the integration of painting and poetry, from which emerged a new poetic genre of picture-poem. Following the program of Russian constructivists and supporters of production art, he declared the end of arts and abandonment of traditional art techniques. Teige was later dedicated to the design of books and magazines, illustrations, posters, typography, typomontage, photomontage and mise-en-scène. He was particularly interested in books and journals' design, and usage of photomontage, posters and abstract typographical compositions executed in the spirit of Czech constructivism. In 1930 he lectured on the sociology of architecture at Bauhaus. In 1935 he became a member of the Group of Surrealists of Czechoslovakia.
During the time Teige was interested in Surrealism, he created a cycle of collages with themes of the phantasmagoric transformation of the female body. Reproductions of woodcuts in Zenit – (no. 6, 1921; no. 8, 1921; no. 11, 1922) – are based on the cubist dissolution of form and expressive stylization. The Zenit Gallery advertised Teige's works, but it is not known what happened to them.
He designed Vitěslav Nezval's Pantomime (1924) and Abeceda (1926), Jaroslav Seifert's Na vlnách TSF (1925), Guillaume Apollinaire's Trsy Tiresiovy (1926), and many other publications.
Teige was involved with the publishing of magazines such as Stavba (1923), Disk (1923; 1925); he founded and edited ReD (1927 – 1931), a monthly magazine for modern culture, the ultimate expression of the European avant-garde.