The Daily Heller: The Paradox of Paradoks

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No, the image above was not made by Milton Glaser during his POP period. Surprisingly, it was produced for Paradoks, a magazine of humor and satire in the Comunist bloc nation of Yugoslavia that ran from 1966–1968. And the paradox is that the image is an “underground” style in a country that had strict censorious publishing regulations. How’d that happen? Even American undergrounds were either embargoed or censored at times.

The humorous and satirical magazine was published by the Center for Cultural Activity of Youth, the same center that later published the better-known Pop Express. Like many other youth magazines of the time (Studentski list, Polet, Omladinski tjednik, Tlo, Prolog), it broke away from the control of the authorities and began to make fun of the official policies of Zagreb and Belgrade and the general situation in Yugoslavia, and harshly mocked many politicians and public figures of the time—so much so that it was occasionally banned. Founder and editor-in-chief Pajo Kanižaj was detained for three months in prison, while co-founder Lazo Goluža fled to France. Before the final closing, 19 issues were published.

Paradoks was designed by Zdravko Tišljar, Zoran Pavlović-Zozo, Alfred Pal, Tomislav Premerl and Tomislav Kožarić. Due to low-quality printing and poor paper quality, the magazine utilized black-and-white line illustrations, DlY collage and other graphic techniques, Dadaistic, surrealistic, Fluxus and psychedelic play with letters, and cold type slap-down cut n’ paste composition.

The design and graphics were influenced by the ideas of the previously founded Cistezija group (1960) and the affiliation of Zagreb artists (Zlatko Bastašić, Milovan Kovačević-Koko, Ivan Pahernik, Zoran Pavlović-Zozo and Ratko Petrić, led by Fedor Kritovec) who made up the Zagrebačka caricature school.

Created at the same time, the graphics and layout of Paradoks was comparable to the Australian (1963) cum London–based underground magazines Oz (1967–1973) and IT – International Times (1966–1973). Paradoks did not shy away from the topic of sex, and was often attacked by the readers themselves, as well as the state authorities, for spreading pornography. The depiction of sexuality and the female body was often imbued with sexist tones, especially in cartoons.