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Recollections: Modern and Contemporary Art's Books and Documents

Thursday 16 July 2020, 04:30 PM • Rome


Libri (Avanguardie ceche) - Nezval, Vitezslav

(Biskoupky 1900 - Praga 1958)

Abeceda. Tanecni komposice: Milca Mayerova [Alphabet. Choreographic compositions by Milca Mayerova] Prague, Nàkladem J. Otto, 1926 (December), 31.4x24.8 cm., Paperback, pp. 57- [3].


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Illustrated cover with a graphic composition in black and brown on a white background by Karel Teige, 25 photographs by Karel Paspa (dance moves by Milca Mayerova in imitation of the letters of the alphabet) assembled and combined with 25 graphic compositions by Karel Teige, one for each letter, accompanied by the verses of Nezval. Design and layout by Karel Teige. The book was born in the atmosphere of Devetsil and the Poetry of Viteszlav Nezval and Karel Teige. Poetism took up the art / life theory of Futurism mediating it with constructivist instances, with particular attention to the interdisciplinarity and complementarity of the arts. "Abeceda" is one of the most brilliant examples of this interdisciplinarity. The text was published by Nezval for the first time in 1922 in the "Pantomime" collection, and consists of quatrains each of which is entitled to a letter. The verses have the function of expressing visual, olfactory, sonorous sensations etc. inspired by every letter. On April 14, 1926, during an evening organized by the Devetsil group, Nezval presented to the public a danced version of «Abeceda», created by the dancer Milca Mayerova (pupil of Rudolf Laban), under the direction of Jin Freika, founder of the Free Theater. After this evening, Karel Teige thinks of a further elaboration of the work: its realization from a typographical point of view. Together with Milca Mayerova, Teige recreates and re-elaborates the choreography, calling also the photographer Karel Paspa to collaborate. The result is a real multi-handed artist book in which a perfect synthesis between different arts takes place: Nezval's poetry, Mayerova's dance, Paspa's photographic art, Teige's design. Each discipline is present with its specificity but in their agreement they create a stylistic unity that transcends them. The result is a multifaceted and multimedia object, open to different suggestions and at the same time of great taste. Print run of 2,000 copies. Small spots on the edge of the cover. [Bibliography: Zdenek Primus, «Tschechische avantgarde 1922 - 1940», Den Haag, Rijksmuseum - Museum van het Boek, 1992: n. 47, p. 57, and pp. 154-162] .- United: NEZVAL Vitezslav, Hra v Kostky. Basne 1927 to 1928 [The dice game. Poems], Prague, Plejada, [December 1928], 20x13.5 cm., Paperback, pp. 139 (5), original cover by Jindrich Styrsky in collaboration with Vit Obrtel. Poems. Print run of 350 copies. First edition. [Bibliography: Zdenek Primus, «Tschechische avantgarde 1922 - 1940», Den Haag, Rijksmuseum - Museum van het Boek, 1992: pag. 114 illustration and n. 265].

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