Paris: Editions 41˚,
1923. 61 pp., with original illustrated wrappers with printed design and collage of
onlaid gold and silver paper, cork and synthetic material by Naum Granovskii. Text
includes letterpress typographic designs by Iliazd. Fine.
First edition. Copy #482 of 530. Very rare.
The copy is inscribed to David Kakabadze (1889-1952), the Georgian
modernist and cubist artist, whose influence on Georgian art is often compared to
Malevich’s influence on Russian art. Kakabadze is the only Georgian artist, who had
St. Petersburg and Parisian avant-garde background, and who has created several
worlds on the theory of art (the most famous was ‘The Art and Space’). In the 1920s
Kakabadze was in Paris, alongside with other Georgian artists - Gudiashvili and
Kikodze, creating the series of cubist works ‘Corners of Paris’.
Iliazd was the secretary of the ‘Union of Russian Artists’ and he was
responsible for putting up the balls in 1922-25, just like Zaum Ball, in Kruchyonykh
honour, that was held in February of 1923. 11 of June of 1924 the Olympic Ball was
held, where Kakabadze and Iliazd have presented their joint artwork - ‘The embossed
poem’, of which nothing is known. The book is signed 13 days later from the event.
The inscription from Iliazd to Kakabadze is significant also because of
the timing. 1922-24 were the time when Russian modernist book tradition has split
into two camps - the revolutionary Moscow camp and emigre European. One of the
undoubted leaders of the red camp was Vladimir Mayakovsky, who has formed the
Left Front of Arts in 1922. After finding that group Mayakovsky wanted to unite
the avant-garde artists and writers under a new flag, and call this ‘Red INKISTERN’
(The international of the art workers). The ambitious idea to undo what was done
by revolution and the civil war didn’t succeed, however, Mayakovsky’s visits to Paris
were frequent in 1922-24. The main conductor of these ideas was Iliazd, who knew
Mayakovsky well from the 1910s. When Vladimir was in Paris Iliazd has found the left
artist group called ‘Cherez’, that was supposed to be LEF representative in France, but
it has not worked either. Having that in mind, Le Dantu Faram, printed in 1923, could be
considered the most leftist of all 41 degrees publications.
In 1924 Mayakovsky was in Paris as well, slightly later after this book was
Unlike Iliazd’s relationships with Mayakovsky, his connection to David
Kakabadze has not been researched yet, It’s known that they have corresponded, but
what was the artistic connection between arguably two most influential Georgian-born
artists ever, is still unclear.
This inscription helps to draw some light on it and shows that the artists
were friends. The Iliazd’s self-mockery is quite charming, the attempt to make his name
sound more Georgian ‘Iliadze’ echoes the Kruchyonikh’s wordplay on his own name.