Samozveri: The unpublished book by S.Tretiakov and V.Stepanova


The first decade of soviet history was a controversial period of coexistence and contention of different tendencies in art and culture. The process of shaping the appearance of newly-born state was on the run and this challenging situation of unceasing search prompted artists to explore new horizons of creativity. Constructivism, which is both visual style, art movement and way of thinking, was extremely popular within artistical group of a time. Rodchenko, Tatlin, Stepanova, Popova were among  pure-hearted advocates of the utopian idea of creation a radically new utilitarian visual style. The aim was to find appropriate design for objects and ,as a whole, a visual form  of rapidly changing reality.

Experiments and artistical explorations were taking place in various areas of design and book production was not an exception. Some visual techniques, methods and styles which are reckoned as common and wide spread nowadays were radical for the time. The novelty was not only something restricted to the appearance and design of books, but for the idea of book`s purpose itself.

Samozveri, children`s book masterminded by the poet S.Tretiakov and the artist V.Stepanova, although unpublished at a time, is a thing of great importance and interest. Correspondent with the constructivist`s idea of creating and reshaping the reality, the book welcomed children not only to read, but to act- cut out and glue figures from paper, wooden sticks and other materials.All the actions were meant to be done by the hand.

 In other words, new generation of soviet people were welcomed to be involved in active constructing of new reality. No place for passive observant was left.  

This idea was extremely popular and topical for the time of industrialization and reshaping the appearance of the whole country.  Topical actuality and ideological consistency resulted in wide spread of such kind of books during the decade. A huge number of Samozveri-like books were published and put into mass circulation. The new era began.  

by Tieriekhova Masha

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