Paris: Editions 41˚, 1923. 61 pp., with original illustrated wrappers with printed design and collage of onlaid gold and silver paper, cork and synthetic material by Naum Granovskii. Text includes letterpress typographic designs by Iliazd. Fine.
First edition. Copy #482 of 530. Very rare.
The copy is inscribed to David Kakabadze (1889-1952), the Georgian modernist and cubist artist, whose influence on Georgian art is often compared to Malevich’s influence on Russian art. Kakabadze is the only Georgian artist, who had St. Petersburg and Parisian avant-garde background, and who has created several works on the theory of art (the most famous was ‘The Art and Space’). In the 1920s Kakabadze was in Paris alongside other Georgian artists, Gudiashvili and Kikodze, creating the series of cubist works ‘Corners of Paris’.
Iliazd was the secretary of the ‘Union of Russian Artists’ and he was responsible for putting up balls in 1922-25 like the Zaum Ball that was held in February of 1923 in honour of Kruchionykh. On 11th of June of 1924 the Olympic Ball was held where Kakabadze and Iliazd presented their joint artwork - ‘The Embossed Poem’ of which nothing is known. Our copy was signed 13 days after this event. The inscription from Iliazd to Kakabadze is significant also because of the timing. Years from 1922 to 1924 were the time when Russian modernist book tradition was split into two camps - the revolutionary Moscow camp and emigre European. One of the undoubted leaders of the red camp was Vladimir Mayakovsky who had formed the Left Front of Arts in 1922. He wanted to unite the avant-garde artists and writers under a new flag and call this ‘Red INKISTERN’ (The International of the Art Workers). The ambitious idea to undo what was done by the revolution and the civil war didn’t succeed, however, Mayakovsky’s visits to Paris were frequent in 1922-24. The main conductor of these ideas was Iliazd, who knew Mayakovsky well from the 1910s. When Vladimir was in Paris Iliazd founded the left artist group called ‘Cherez’, that was supposed to be LEF representative in France, but it has not worked either. Having that in mind, “Le Dantu Faram”, printed in 1923, could be considered the most leftist of all 41 degrees publications.
In 1924 Mayakovsky was in Paris as well, slightly later than this book was signed.
Unlike Iliazd’s relationships with Mayakovsky, his connection to David Kakabadze has not been researched yet. It’s known that they have corresponded, but what was the artistic connection between arguably two most influential Georgian-born artists ever, is still unclear.
This inscription helps to draw some light on it and shows that the artists were friends. The Iliazd’s self-mockery is quite charming, the attempt to make his name sound more Georgian, ‘Iliadze’, echoes the Kruchyonikh’s wordplay on his own name.