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Indus rial action

The artistic vision of poet Vladimir Maiakovsky lurks behind an exhibition of Avant-Garde Graphics at the Hunterian, says Tim Abrahams.

oliticalh and artistically. Vladimir .\IilltlI\U\\I\_\ was thc Icading artistic and Iitcr'ar} light in carl} Ztlth ccnttir} Rtrssia. :\ttcnding thc Moscow Institutc ot' I’ainting. Sctilptttr'c and .»\rchitccttirc. hc show cd his contcmpt l‘or hourgcois com cntion h} drcssing in a _\cIIow hlousc with a woodcn spoon in his huttonholc. But his art was not a posc. IIc was an carI_\

Bolshcxik supportcr and in 190‘) was imprisoncd I'or

political agitation.

In jail. Maials‘oxsls) startcd writing pocll'). Iidwin Morgan. citing him as an inl'Iucncc. I‘ound in Maiaktw'sk} a rarc thing: ‘a poct who was commitch to thc Icl‘t htrt hcing l'L‘\oItllIt)llttt'_\' in Ianguagc'. But. dcspitc Morgan's intcr'cst. Maiakoxslsy's assault on thc traditionall) rigid grid pattcrn ot \crsc and his cmphasis on thc dynamic potcntiaI ol' words was ultimatcl} morc inl‘IucntiaI on graphic art than on pocti'}.

In I‘)I‘) as ('i\iI \Var ragcd in Russia. hc was cmplo) cd h} R()S'II-\. thc Rtissian 'I'clcgraph x\gcnc'\. to w ritc cop) I'or ncws postcrs. Maiakoxsk) would composc a tcxt announcing ncws or int'ormation and thcn gch it to an artist who would Visuall) intcrprct it and crcatc a cardboard .stcnciI. I‘rom this stcnciI an cdition ol' 3()() postcrs could hc gcncratcd in two or thrcc days I‘m Millaktn'sk). thc postcrs wcrc ‘tclcgraphic huIIctins. instantly translatcd into poslc‘t'-I'ol‘lll. dccr'ccs immcdiath} puhlishcd as rh} mcs. Ihc \ ngar charactcr of thc poctt‘} . . . is not on|_\ duc to thc ahscncc ot‘ papcr. hut thc I‘urious tcmpo oI‘ thc t'c\oItIlion with which printing tcchnology could not kccp paccf

IIcrc w c ha\ c thc whitc hcat ot crudc tcchnolog} in which thc mcdium of graphic dcsign was horn. 'I‘hc fascinating sclcction on \‘icw at thc IIuntcrian comcs t‘rom thc world rcnow'ncd Mcrrill (' Bcrman collcction and captures this rough hirth. I-‘rom its titIc Arant- (iardc (iraphics it should not hc assumcd that thc work on display was for a nichc markct. Although hc was an archctypal art radical. Maiakox'sky‘s saw was initiall) consumcd h) a mass rcadcrship and apprmcd h)’ thc rcvolutionar)‘ part): Rodchcnko. thc dcsigncr with whom hc hccamc most associated. was gncn l‘uII .scopc to hrcak with thc pcrpcndicular ohscssions ol'

"'5 “ST 33 Sci) .' Oct Soc-.1


print. .'\rtist and political part) sharcd a Iaith in thc Iihcrating potcntiaI ol' lc‘c‘ItltoIog}. not to mcntion thc goal ot rcaching as man} pcoplc as possihlc.

.‘\s thc war cI'l'ort rcquircd lcwcr and lcwcr rcsotirccs. artists incrcasingl) had acccss to lcttcrprcss

and commcrcial lithograph} to incrcasc thc rcach oI

thcir unprcccdcntcd projch l'or mass communication. .\'or was communism thc onI} idcoIog} scr\cd h} this c\amplc ol' artists gctting thcir hands dirt} with tcchnolog} and thc surgc ol' social rcxoltttion. I.cnin himsclt likcd a IittIc hit ol‘ thc markct now and again. In thc post~ci\i| war pcacc ol I922. thc l‘athcr oI thc Rtissian cholution proclaimcd his ncw cconomic poIIL‘). in which hc pcrmittcd a Iimitcd dcgrcc oI' I'rcc cntcrprisc in or'dcr to I'or‘cc statc—owncd husincsscs to compctc and tItci'cI‘orc hccomc hcalthicr. Maialsmsls} and Rodchcnko l'ormcd pcrhaps thc oddcst ad\crtising agcnc) c\ct' crcatcd. Rodchcniso Ior his part saw nothing amiss. ‘x\d\'crti.sing is simpl} industrial. commcrcial agitation] hc said.

Politics. howc\cr. did I‘or' .\IilIiII\t)\\I\_\. IIc grcw discnchantcd with thc l‘c‘\oIllllolt and committcd suicidc in I930.

Among thc othcr intcrnational radicals t‘caturcd is dadaist Kurt Schwittcrs. I‘ainous l'or his pastcd papcr coIIagcs and his outragcotis puhIic pcrltirmanccs. hc ch a tIotIhIc IiIc. :\Ioltgsidc‘ his dada acthit}. hc opcralcd a succcssl'ul athcrtising agcnc} that crcatcd logos. stationcr} and postcrs printcd on ittIHtllc‘CtI IL‘IIL‘I'PI’L‘ssc‘s l‘or cnIightcncd corporatc clicnts. 'I‘his cshihition hopcs to show how thc \irtuc ot' graphic dcsign was its immcdiac}. with thc Rtrssian worls rcprcscntcd in an intcrnatiorml contc\t. ’I‘hc conlilict hctwccn artistic csprcssion and thc tcchnical purposc ol‘ a postcr was dcalt with in IIttsIlL‘s ol inspiration and a Iilctimc's lamiliarit} with thc mcdium.

Iidwin Morgan concludcd his translation oI' .\I;tiako\ks_\'s Bl‘ookI)n Bridgc with thc Iincs. '.'\ strang/ 'I‘rig-rixctcd grid/ Juist whit stccl's t'orf' 'Ihcsc postcrs arc just what thc printing prcss was t‘or.

Avant-Garde Graphics, Hunterian Art Gallery, Glasgow, 1 Oct-27 Nov.

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JI’Q) LHI'IIAI 1‘? k"

SCOTLAND‘S ART COMMUNITY continues to prove that the scene is truly globalised. First, there's the Frieze Art Fair in London, at which the Modern Institute and Doggerfisher have stands among an exclusive selection of high quality art dealers. The fair has become an instant hit on the international art circuit, and two art dealers unable to get space there have set up a rival show in a pavilion at the nearby London Zoo. Unsurprisingly, it's called 200. Both fairs open on 15 October. will )N iii/\ltl W 1 iii It V\'.|Nti AI Ila" hit: I2""‘. if‘t‘tf 't.I'.' rl‘ I it hit It -' .rtttl Now-titty", m immunity; ,i‘.

St titlgitttl's IIttII‘tVI IIIII‘ tear wort

suit o I)otio‘.rs ( i\)7ti()'i Irv,

itf'IiII tiltiraix tarth artist

sot Mistral for t'« I lotto Hips, i .'.’.'"t‘Il t innit,“ :r‘. Tzlllt‘l III" ‘.'.‘t.'il“‘l .'.'II In' {IITII' tart ml no ‘! I\I-'/\.‘fll‘.I)tZ.' ’1, that Mint». fstarliritis corttrrtttrtior‘. to tlu- fiat) Paolo Urnrtttztit,‘ .‘.’III Ittr/i‘ t t; it -: It" I I I“ ttttl I)£I‘.'tI Iirttt Itulor (irr- III‘,‘ tilli, Iii T at, artists lll\.lIt.‘(I It, ttto urtitiriuwru To (IXIIIINI

JIM LAMBIE AND MARTIN BOYCE are exhibiting widely this autumn, both appearing alongside Richard Wright in a British Council-organised exhibition Sodium and Asphalt that has already opened at Mexico City's major contemporary art venue, and tours to Monterrey in November. Il'S; til i N A SSUMMI It UI (Ll t/\t\t(;l at llIéIJUV British art galleries IéilIIi

I I(I(I“Ii‘;I(1IIt"I :t o’tat III(:(?II(I()I Mgr, t), eronoorrcau; that who", Iozivrrri; Hoodoo (,‘orrtmriporzir ,' Arts III I ()MIUH rt'r, all t ttziririr; at the lizrywtrrtl and III‘: I(;/\ boson Braden (ltlri tlrr: I,|‘?I(:(r(}tlt“’I

Ila, .‘mrtl alter 7-1 ,‘rnrrn' rrgzrrl Iriliotir on the Sootli Batik, Will“; I’Itrltl) Dorm left IIt(: l(,'/\ to not or, :2 rwr:.'/ {i(}(:ll’,‘,/ protrmtrrm; artistic uotloimu’rtwrm .wrtt» Illlilit EtltlI (Lttrr a Meanwhile. thew!) rim-p trnorrra at Balm; rv- N‘:'.‘.ti(if;iii; when: Stet,th Stir/Itly. appointed (Ill(:(,!()l inst

l)<—:r,rarnl)r:r, has Ij‘ZIfII sour/ended

followup; an alleged sexual assault.

Simon Starling, Island for Weeds