Kazan: tip. Pechat, 1925. Item #619
 pp., incl. wrappers. Near fine. Restored.
Extremely rare. One of 100 copies. First and only edition.
In the 1920s Kazan experienced one of the most independent and unique
avant-garde art movements. It started in ARKhUMAS (the most common name for
Kazan Architectural and Art School in the 1920s) which existed from 1918 to 1925 and
on which basis all radical art groups of Kazan acted. It was a creative laboratory for
young artists where they were free to experiment (Rodchenko and Stepanova started
Innovative teaching methods were developed jointly and in parallel with the
Moscow VKhUTEMAS, and influenced the development of visual art and architecture
not only in Kazan and the Volga region, but also in other cities of the former Soviet
Union, where its graduates and teachers: Moscow, Leningrad, Kiev, Sverdlovsk,
Samarkand, Orenburg, Astrakhan, etc.
In accordance with the program of workshops, focused on the close
connection of scientific knowledge and practical work, on the need to create new
forms of art, educational work was combined with production. So was the focus of one
of the most radical and important groups of the region, TatLEF. It existed from 1923 to
1926 and carried out the ideas of production art. The evidence of their agenda can be
found in this catalogue: sketches of Lenin’s monuments, architecture design projects,
theatre costume designs, agitation posters, book wrappers. Of these, only works in the
field of theatre and books were implemented, while others remained only in projects
This is a catalogue for the second art show of TatLEF (the first show was in
1924) which was held in October-November in ARKhUMAS building in 1925.
Among artists who participated were Faik Tagirov, A. Platunova, K.
Chebotariov and others. More than 300 works were exhibited at both exhibitions, 17
artists took part in the first, 16 artists in the second, mostly teachers and pupils of
Although Kazan artists went through same stages of Russian avant-garde
as Moscow and Leningrad artists (from art nouveau to Futurism and Constructivism)
they managed to develop unique forms, like Tatarian Constructivist book. Precisely
in book design, TatLEF manifested itself the best. Book graphics and posters of one
of the brightest Tatar artists of the new formation F. Tagirov, who went down in
history not only in Tatar but also in Russian Soviet art, demonstrate the unique style
created by him, representing a kind of oriental constructivism. Because of that Kazan
constructivism differs from the one in capitals, as it was powered not only by the design tradition of the town but also by Tatar artists, the most famous of whom was
Faik Tahirov, the Tatar El Lissitzky.
In 1924–1925, the first signs of opposition between the right (supporters
of the AKhRR) and the leftists (of whom ARKhUMAS remained a stronghold) appeared
in the artistic community of Kazan’. Due to the imperative change in the status of
workshops to the level of a technical school - the LEF wing with its material base was
closed, and the teaching staff was expelled. Chebotariov and Platunova were forced to
leave for Moscow (1926). So this is the catalogue for the last exhibition of TatLEF.
Not found on the Worldcat.
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