Moscow-Berlin: RSFSR. Gos. izd., 1923. , 61 pp. 19x13,3 cm. Original wrappers with letterpress typographic design on front. A very good copy. Wrappers with mild soiling and rubbing, small tears of the top of the spine, creases of corners, previous owner’s signature on the first and last pages (both blank), pale stain on side margin of couple of pages.
First edition. Very rare. Today’s classics, an iconic example of constructivist artwork by Lissitzky for Vladimir Mayakovsky’s collection of poems. 24 letterpress illustrations, letterpress text includes typographic designs and page tabs. Lazar’ Markovich Lissitzky (1890-1941), better known as El Lissitzky, was Russian artist, graphic designer and an important figure of the Russian avant-garde. His stylistic characteristics idiosyncrasies and experimentation with production techniques developed in the 1920s and ’30s have been an influence on graphic designers since.
Lissitzky was working with book design all his life since 1917 till 1940s. In 1923 he published a manifesto stating his principles for a new book in which words are comprehended by eyes but not by ears, while means of expression are saved, and from words the attention passes to the letters. He demonstrated this principles in his work “Dlia golosa” later same year.
In the spring of 1923, Lissitzky and Mayakovsky collaborated on a book with thirteen of Mayakovsky’s poems that were most often quoted in speeches from supporters of the revolution. Lissitzky was to contribute the visual equivalents counterparts of the poems along with and was responsible for the book’s unique design.
‘For the Voice’ (or For reading out loud) was meant to be read aloud to large audiences. In the construction design of the pages, based on the notion that each poem is to be read aloud, Lissitzky represents a narrative the words to be spoken using with the forms, color, typography, layering and ‘rhythm’ to stand as a vital visual counterpart to the text. One of the most ingenious design concepts from Lissitzky was to create a thumb index for each poem so that they could be located rapidly. Lissitzky also worked with the Berlin typesetters to create innovative uses of types as well.