Berlin: Skify, 1922. [12 leaves including the wrappers]. 262x200 mm.
The wrapper is restored: the front wrapper’s margins are supplied, the right, left and top sides of the outer square are gone, but the bottom side remains along with El’s monogram. No staples. The rear wrapper preserved with extra blank leaf added. The rest of the pages are good and clean, apart from being trimmed like the rest of the copy, with no restoration impact. Often copies survived don’t have the front wrapper at all, which led to a number of online publications show the first page of the book as ‘Vsem, vsem rebyatkam’ [i.e. To all, to all children], which is a leaf right after the front wrapper.
The book, that was constructed in Vitebsk in 1920 during Lissitzy’s Unovis days, came to this world two years later in Berlin to transform the concept of book design for years to come. The mounting research dedicated to this publication and its revolutionary constructor makes it impossible to add much. Maybe this book could only be explained by the author himself, here’s a quote from El Lissitzky’s work on Suprematism from the same year as the construction of the ‘Squares’
‘We, on the last stage of the path to Suprematism blasted aside the old work of art like a being of flesh and blood and turned it into a world floating in space. We carried both picture and the viewer out beyond the confines of the sphere and in order to comprehend it fully the views must circle like a planet round the picture…’
Andel, Avant-Garde Page Design 1900-1950, p.160; Mansbach, Graphic Modernism, p.14; MoMA, The Russian Avant-Garde Book, 405, pp.153-155.