Igra v adu (A game in hell) GONCHAROVA, NATALIA
Igra v adu (A game in hell)
Khlebnikov, Velimir and Aleksei Kruchenykh

Moscow: 1912.

Original illustrated wrappers by Goncharova. This copy is in near fine condition. 4to, 14 leaves with lithographic illustrations and text. Edition of 300. This poem chronicles a card game between devils and sinners in hell, and showcases Kruchenykh and Khlebnikov’s experimental writing. The poets allow the sinners to win as an attempt to distance themselves from Symbolist expectations. Goncharova’s illustrations were inspired by traditional Russian art forms such as the lubok, icons, and folk and children’s art. “The fixed stare and full-page presence of Goncharova’s devil on the cover refers blasphemously to religious icons of Christ. Her sinister and absurd devils within play with multiple cultural types, including the archaic devil of Russian icons that pulls sinners to hell, and the parodic secular devil of the lubok, who is outwitted by man. By celebrating these shifting identities, the Futurists playfully conflate the worlds of the sacred and the secular. On page after page, whether silly, sinister, or grotesque, the Futurist devil assumes an ironic and provocative stance.” — Nancy Perloff, Getty Research Institute.

Getty 398; MoMA 7, illus. p. 70.