St. Petersburg, January of 1912. 72 pp. 27,5x15 cm. Typescript and manuscript on paper. Annotated and corrected in red ink and blue crayon. On the title page in blue crayon ‘write the drama or an epic’. Green card folder. Disbound. Very good, slightly soiled.
This unpublished manifesto could be regarded as the first Iliazd futuristic experiment. It’s written in the form of dialogue, the length of the lines varies. The language of it resembles ‘zaum’ language developed by Kruchonykh in 1913. On the other hand it’s influenced heavy by Marinetti and Russian symbolists. It starts like this:
The roaring platform, the noisy lava of passengers, screams of the negro porters that
carry the luggage while playing tennis with words and rejoicing in all the languages.
We have been waiting for a year.
Finally we can feel your ripe lips, curvy hair.
But you have changed, you are dressed differently.
You are the azure wave, rustling close to the stern,
No you are the clank of the forging hammer,
The sights of lagoons, overfilled with vitriols of copper cups,
The moans of the evening streets turning to blue,
The songs of the coming machinery,
The text of the manifesto is not correlated with 21 handwritten poems, dedicated to different people from Zdanevich’s inner circle including ballerina Tamara Karsavina (1885-1978) of Diagilev’s company, the princess Agutinskaia-Dolgorukova (Georgia) and to his mother.
This manuscript was created in a very curious time of Iliazd’s life. It was only in summer of 1911 when he first read Marinetti’s manifesto, that was brought to him by Boris Lopatinsky who was in Paris earlier that year. In the autumn of 1912 Ilia started to study in St. Petersburg (following the footsteps of his brother who moved there in 1910). It’s known that through his brother Ilia met Mikhail Le Dantu as well as Goncharova and Larionov. Ilia started to perform in literary cafes of St. Petersburg preaching futurism. The first performance occurred on 18th of January 1912. That is the month our manuscript was created.
In April of 1912 Zdanevich brothers abandoned the studies in the capital and went to Tiflis alongside Mikhail Le Dantu. That’s when one of the main sketchbooks of Russian avant-garde was created - the Tiflis sketchbook by Le Dantu. Also on that trip unknown Georgian self-taught artist Niko Pirosmani was discovered. The earliest appearance in print by Ilia Zdanevich was 1913 when he participated in the book about Mikhail Larionov under the name of Eli Eganbiuri.
This document shows the development of the ideas that formed one of the most important designers of 20th century in one of the most crucial periods of his life - the times when he was getting acquainted with his fellow artists with whom he would soon create the book masterpieces, finding his ground and finding the proofs for the theories he already had at the time.
Of what we know of his early life Zdanevich was very critical about the fellow poets, saying that ‘Mayakovsky is freshened-up Briusov; Pasternak is stealing from Annensky and Khlebnikov is archaic and too lengthy’. He also called the leader of ego-futurists Severianin ‘manure’. Only poet worth mentioning for Zdanevich was Kruchonykh with his lure for simplicity.
In 1918 Zdanevich wrote to Melnikova that when he was young he didn’t want to bring his poems to typography because he understood that the process of forming a poet needs time. That partly explains why this particular piece was not published.