[UKRAINE ABOVE ALL]. Kurt Tucholsky.


Item #637

Tucholsky, Kurt. Nimechina, nimechina nad use [i.e. Germany Above All]. Kiev; Kharkiv: Literatura i Mistetstvo, 1931. 228, [4] pp.: ill. 23x18 cm. Original photomontage wrappers. Professional restoration of the wrapper and margins of a few pages, a few pale damp stains. Otherwise very good.

With: Tucholsky, Kurt. Deutschland, Deutschland ueber alles [i.e. Germany Above All]. Berlin: Neuer Deutscher Verlag, 1929. 231, [5] pp.: ill. 24x19 cm. In original cloth with photomontage stamping. Near fine, a bit loose, some soiling of the binding.

First German (original) edition and first Ukrainian edition. From the first
printing (‘1-20 Tausend’). Very rare.

This book is an unknown example of anonymous Ukraine designer following the footsteps of John Heartfield creating his version of the design for the Heartfield’s classical ‘Deutschland uber alles’ two years after the original publication. The book became the ultimate example of using the photomontage in the book with the wrong political subtext and in a way opened the new meanings for the use of photomontage in the 1930s when it became not only one of the most powerful tools of graphic propaganda but also the dominant design technique.

It’s intriguing to find this edition that could not be tracked in any libraries worldwide. The book could be viewed as the reply to Heartfield as it’s clear that the
anonymous Ukraine designer had the 1929 edition in front of him but didn’t merely copy it. The inside of the book remains the same but the wrapper is different: using the same colours of Weimar Republic, Kharkiv designer substitutes the top hat on the front cover with the helmet.

Kharkiv was the place in Ukraine where the leftist ideas have accumulated - the main Ukrainian magazine dedicated to the left art was printed here from 1927 to 1931 by the art group Nova Generatsia [i.e. New Generation] by the same title. This organization was basically a third modification of the Ukrainian Left Front (UkrLEF) and one of the last regional affiliates of Moscow ‘LEF’. Constructivist and photo montage tools that they used are found in the work of this anonymous designer’s wrappers. In 1931 Nova Generatsia was closed down as a result of the pressure from the officials.


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