Kharkiv: Nasha mysl’, 1919. Item #734
79,  pp. Abstract wrapper designed by Nikolay Kalmykov (1896-1951). Wrapper is restored, but generally in very good condition.
First and only edition.
One of the key works by the founder of Proletkult, avant-garde poet, revolutionary and labor theoretician Alexei Gastev (1882-1939).
He has been one of the ideologists of Proletkult in 1917-1920, formulating the key principles of the proletarian culture, forming the understanding of the proletarian art aesthetics, that was crucial in aesthetics of constructivism and left art of 1920s. In the periodical ‘Proletarskaya kultura’, he has penned the principles of the transition from futurism to industrial oriented art.
It’s possible to say that Gastev was the economist as much as the art theoretician, which is seen in this particular work, dedicated to the the change in the industrial world. One of the key ideas of the book is the prediction of the development of the ‘Social Will’, that will dominate the society and illuminate the concepts of the minority and majority, hence the voting will become unnecessary.
In the section dedicated to the culture of the labor, Gastev announces that the new psychology of the proletarian culture is being born on the factories across the world. In the meantime he comments on the understanding of the proletarian culture; “Now to understand the proletarian culture it’s not enough to be a writer, advocate or politician, you have to be an engineer, the social constructor…” In that phrase one could see Gastev deifying his own role in this culture.
The artist responsible for the design of the wrapper, is Nikolay Kalmykov, who was the member of avant-garde group, based in Kharkiv ‘Soyuz Semi’, and participated in the ‘Sbornik novogo iskusstva’ [i.e. The Collection of the New Art] in 1919. In 1920 he has left the country for Turkey, where he spent the rest of his life, becoming relatively well-known artist in Istanbul, adapting the name Naci Kalmukoğlu, creating the frescoes for the cinemas and the paintings on the themes of Ottoman history.
Extremely rare. Only copy is at Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, according to Worldcat.