MALEVICH, KAZIMIR and OLGA ROZANOVA|
Igra v adu (A game in hell)
Khlebnikov, Velimir and Aleksei Kruchenykh
Original lithographed wrappers by Malevich. 4to, 39 leaves. Edition of 800. With 26 lithographed illustrations within (23 by Rozanova and 3 by Malevich), as well as lithographed manuscript text. The book was printed on both think and thin paper. This copy printed on thin paper, the preferred version. A poem chronicling a card game between devils and sinners in hell, which showcases Kruchenykh and Khlebnikov’s experimental writing. The poets allow the sinners to win as an attempt to distance themselves from Symbolist expectations. The text is printed in Old Church Slavonic lettering, and reflects the folk traditions surrounding the depiction of hell. The authors and artists at one in the same time embrace traditional illustration and text, and yet also reject it through their avant-garde interpretation. “The swirling forms of the letters and the grotesque imagery of the text and illustrations create a vivid experience for the reader’s mind and eye” (Ex Libris 6, 126).
Ex Libris 6, 126; Getty 399; MoMA 79, illus. p. 80 (the MoMA copy is catalogued as containing 40 leaves).