Explodity: Sound, Image, and Word in Russian Futurist Book Art

SKU: 978-1606065082
  • Nancy Perloff

    The artists’ books made in Russia between 1910 and 1915 are like no others. Unique in their fusion of the verbal, visual, and sonic, these books are meant to be read, looked at, and listened to. Painters and poets—including Natalia Goncharova, Velimir Khlebnikov, Mikhail Larionov, Kazimir Malevich, and Vladimir Mayakovsky— collaborated to fabricate hand-lithographed books, for which they invented a new language called zaum (a neologism meaning “beyond the mind”), which was distinctive in its emphasis on “sound as such” and its rejection of definite logical meaning.

    At the heart of this volume are close analyses of two of the most significant and experimental futurist books: Mirskontsa (Worldbackwards) and Vzorval’  (Explodity). In addition, Nancy Perloff examines the profound differences between the Russian avant-garde and Western art movements, including futurism, and she uncovers a wide-ranging legacy in the midcentury global movement of sound and concrete poetry (the Brazilian Noigandres group, Ian Hamilton Finlay, and Henri Chopin), contemporary Western conceptual art, and the artist’s book.

    This book is complemented by an interactive website that features sound recordings of zaum poetry: www.getty.edu/zaumpoetry

    Nancy Perloff is curator of modern and contemporary collections at the Getty Research Institute. She is coeditor, with Brian M. Reed, of Situating El Lissitzky: Vitebsk, Berlin, Moscow (Getty Publications, 2003).

    208 pages
    8 1/2 x 8 1/2 inches
    66 color and 18 b/w 
    1 map
ISBN 978-1-60606-508-2

    Getty Publications
    Imprint: Getty Research Institute