Monday, July 14, 2008

Lidantiu faram:Iliazd and the Illustrated Book

Within original illustrated wrappers with a collage by Granovskii of onlaid gold and silver paper, cork and synthetic material. Text includes letterpress typographic designs by Iliazd. Iliazd published the play shortly after he moved to Paris from Russia. "The play, which combines slapstick with the solution of aesthetic unquestionably a masterpiece of the Russian poetic avant-garde." (Markov) While the colophon states that 530 copies were made, only about 150 are said to have been printed.
His full name was Ilia Zdanevitch. He was born in Tiflis, Georgia, in 1894, and went on to excel as poet, geographer, book designer, mountain climber, printer, publisher, fabric designer for Sonia Delaunay and Coco Chanel, pioneer dismantler of language, idiosyncratic stage performer and organizer in the early 1920's of some of the last of the great classic artists' balls. In none of all this was he in the least like anyone else. (His marriage in 1942 to a Nigerian princess may be advanced as further proof of that.) A founder member of what has come to be known as Russian Futurism, Iliazd got up in the Polytechnical Museum in Moscow when he was only 19 and told his listeners that ''an American show is more beautiful than the Venus of Milo.'' In the same year, he emphasized the unity of mankind and architecture by painting house numbers on his face and going out in the street. Fired by the expressive potential of vocables that had broken free of conventional meaning, he aspired to compose ballets in which the steps would be determined not by music, but by simultaneous recitation in which every syllable would stand for a step and ''the acceleration of the vowels, with or without accentuation, would determine the character of that step.''(read more..)

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