Odessa: Yugo-LEF, 1924. Item #618
Issues #1-4 (of 5 printed). In publisher’s wrappers.
#1. 16 pp. 27x17,5 cm.Wrapper design by Nikolay Danilov. Very good. Close tears of the top and bottom of the spine, lacking a small fragment of the front wrapper (not affecting the text). Elements of letterpress design in text and advertising on the back.
#2. 16 pp. 26,5x18 cm. Wrapper design by Nikolay Danilov. Very good. Tears of the spine, part of the bottom corner of the wrapper is missing (not affecting the text), ink stamp “Double” on the front wrapper.
#3. , 16,  pp. 26x17 cm. Wrapper design by Nikolay Danilov. Very good. Small tears of the spine
#4. 16 pp. 26,5x17,5 cm. Wrapper design by Nikolay Sokolov. Very good.
Extremely rare. Each issue of 3000 copies.
The periodical was called by Vladimir Mayakovsky ‘a small magazine that is capable of causing endless problems’. The magazine was formed by 17-year-old poet, ‘the last futurist’, Semyon Kirsanov, 19-year-old artist Nikolay Sokolov and the poetmanager Leonid Nedolia.
The group behind it has indeed managed to leave the impact on the art and literary life of the South of USSR. The magazine included the literary section as well as the art theory section and the chronicle of the activities of the ‘Yugo-LEF’ group. In the 3rd issue, a poem praising LEF by M. Blank is printed in Hebrew.
Yugo-LEF as the group existed for less than a year. It was formed in April of 1924. In the editorial board of the magazine have been included three writers - Leonid Nedolia, Semyon Kirsanov, Sergey Bondarin (1903-1978) and two artists - Nikolay Sokolov (1904-1990) and Nikolay Danilov. Leonid Nedolia became the main manager of the group became, Ukrainian-born poet, who at that time just returned from Moscow where he was the editor-in-chief of the satirical periodical ‘Krysodav’ [i.e. The ratcrusher], where he worked with Mayakovsky, Igor Terentiev, Kruchyonykh, Meyerhold, Dmitrii Moor, etc.
Over the course of the year, the organisation led a very active life: five issues of the magazine were accompanied by the addresses. On the 1st of May 1924, Yugo-LEF was granted several trucks, from which the lectures and the poems were performed. According to Semyon Kirsanov, that day he had 80 poetical performances. The main purpose of the group was to promote their idea to the masses. Leonid Nedolia has proven to be a talented organiser, under his management the group has included 500 members with two headquarters in Odessa and with the
branches in Sevastopol, Ekaterinoslav (now - Dnipro), Zinovievsk (now - Kropyvnytskyi). Nikolay Danilov has designed the group’s bookstall. On the back covers of issues 3 and 4, the poems by Kirsanov advertising the stall (lariok) are printed.
The reasons why such an active and orderly organisation have been closed down are twofold: some researches state that the reasons were ideological: Nedolia viewed Yugo-LEF as the branch of Moscow-based LEF, the idea was opposed by Mayakovsky who welcomed the local initiatives but didn’t want to govern or create the bureaucracy. Also, it’s known that Nedolia didn’t like the fact that half of LEF’s senior members didn’t belong to the Bolshevik party, which made their agitation less effective in his eyes.
The last big project of the ‘Southern LEF’ was the attempt to create the theatre around the group. The only play staged was ‘Amazing Adventures of Nichevoki’ (the main Russian dada poetry group that existed in Moscow and Rostov on Don in 1920-1923), staged by Yurenev and designed by Danilov. The theatre where the premiere should have been held was burnt down a week before the event so the production moved to the circus. The performance itself deserves a direct quote from the member of the editorial board of ‘Yugo-LEF’ Sergey Bondarin: “The show started with our ideological leader Leonid Nedolia entering the arena on the motorcycle in nothing but underwear, while the first row occupied the ‘YUGO-LEF girls’ in bikinis. The
audience panicked during the performance of actors playing soldiers aimed their guns at the audience, people started to leave the circus in the hurry so Yurenev had to come up on the stage and explain that it’s just part of the play. Most have left by then”. In March of 1925, Yugo-LEF seized to exist.
Getty Research Institute and Stanford University Library hold same four issues.