Tiflis: 41°, 1919. 32 p. 17×14 cm. In publisher’s illustrated cover designed by Ilia Zdanevich. Printed on pink paper. The block is clean. The illustration on p. 16 was also used in the collection Sofia Georgievna Melnikova. Fantasticheskiy kabachiok [i.e. To Sofia Georgievna Melnikova. Fantastic Tavern]. Some rust on the staple, minor tear of the spine, otherwise very good. Contemporary bookseller’s stamp on the rear cover.
Igor Gerasimovich Terentyev (1892-1937), a poet, artist, and director began his creative career in 1918 in Alexei Kruchenykh’s and Ilia Zdanevich’s futurist group 41° in Tiflis. Existing from 1917 to 1920, this artistic alliance of Igor Terentyev (1892–1937), Alexei Kruchenykh (1886–1968), and Ilia Zdanevich was also called the duo of three idiots. The duo revolutionized letterpress design, creating a new form of the book. The years Ilia spent in Tiflis largely determined his emergence as one of the most important livre d’artiste publishers of the 20th century.
The exceptional importance of this book lies within the typographical experiments of Ilia Zdanvevich (Iliazd), who employed some of the methods that he later used in the livre d’artiste editions.
After the October Revolution, Georgia enjoyed a short period of independence, with Tiflis becoming a cultural oasis and one of the centers of Russian avant-garde thought. From 1917 to 1921, Tiflis witnessed the emergence of Alexei Kruchenykh’s experiments with zaum poetry and avant-garde illustrations, Ilia Zdanevich’s letterpress typography designs, and Kirill Zdnevich’s orchestral collages.
All of them, together with Igor Terentyev, were responsible for one of the most adventurous books of the time, produced by the group 41°.
In 1921, the short period of Georgian independence came to an end with the formation of the Georgian Soviet Republic.