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About 2 Squares

by El Lissitsky

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Book Description
El Lissitzky's first suprematist book is a story about how two squares, one red, one black, transform a world. It is Lissitzky's "scientific romance," an allegory of the fourth dimension and its effect on the three-dimensional world. When it was first published in Berlin in 1922, About 2 [Squares] presented a radical rethinking of what a book was, demonstrating a new way of organizing typography on a page and relating it to visual images. It marked the beginning of a new graphic art and is among the most important publications in the history of the avant-garde in typography and graphic design.

This facsimile limited edition is reproduced in letterpress with the English translation printed on a transparent overlay to register over the original Russian.

The commentary, More About 2 [Squares], boxed in the same slipcase, provides a detailed analysis of this seminal work. Railing provides a brief historical survey of avant-garde poetry in Russia and shows how the letter/ sound was applied by Lissitzky in About 2 [Squares] as a corollary to the pictorial images - a relationship that forms the basis of abstract or nonobjective language and painting in Russia, and is the theoretical and creative source and device of Lissitzky's graphic design. Railing's is a study both of the philosophical idea of suprematism and the artistic content of Lissitzky's architectural extension of the suprematist painting of Kazimir Malevich, which he called the Proun, and of its particular role as a sequence of images used to create the story About 2 [Squares].

Language Notes
Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Russian



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