Knigoizdate’stvo Akademii khudozhetsv: [Leningrad], . Item #839
77,  pp.: ill. 18x13 cm. In original illustrated wrappers. Near fine copy. Tiny tear of the spine.
First edition of the first book.
Yakov Chernikhov (1889-1951) was one of the most unusual and innovative talents of the time, known for his Architectural Fantasies, and here are these fantasies in the making. This is a textbook on a special subject developed Chernikhov himself, which he called «the art of graphic representation». It was not a drawing textbook, as one might understand from the title. Under the old-fashioned title Chernikhov meant something very modern. It is about graphic, spatial, and abstract compositions, and seeks to encourage students to use lines, planes, and solid to express beauty and movement without depicting anything known or recognizable, experimenting with all the boundless possibilities open to them. This book was designed for beginners, for people who had not so far been involved in drawing, and not burdened with education at all. It was this kind of youth that filled the Soviet secondary and higher educational institutions in the 1920s. The more amazing is Cherninov’s task that he brought up on himself. His architectural fantasies have not lost their nutritive power to this day and serve a powerful source of inspiration.
Publications like this were very unusual, since for the previous fifteen years, modern art had been used to express slogans, manifestoes, and statements of principle. The essence of Chernikhov’s first book, as well as the remaining unnoticed by critics, was revolutionary in relation to the academic school of architectural drawing, which he himself passed. Not recognized by contemporaries, a unique textbook on the development of spatial thinking has not lost its significance even today. Later, he was reproached in the formalistic approach, the poor presentation of the theory but the graphics were always praised.
Worldcat locates copies at Cleveland Library, Getty Research Institute, NYPL.