Czech Underground Musicians in Search of Art Innovation

In: East Central Europe
Martin Machovec
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The Czech underground culture of the 1970s and 1980s has so far been widely acknowledged for its contribution to the development of the human rights movement in the country, especially as a predecessor and fellow-traveller of Charta 77. So have been some of the underground rock musicians (The Plastic People of the Universe) and some of the poets and writers (e.g. Egon Bondy, I. M. Jirous, Pavel Zajíček, Jáchym Topol). However, as a result of vivid cooperation within the underground “ghetto” between poets, writers, philosophers, musicians and representatives of fine arts, the underground rockers created performances to be appreciated in terms of visual arts, literature and contemporary music—which has so far remained rather underresearched. The article brings forth some evidences of this creativity by locating the phenomenon of Czech underground music in the broader cultural and aesthetic context of the time.

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