Amy Sillman


1 The books and collages of Aleksei Kruchenykh Aside from inventing (with Velimir Khlebnikov) zaum, the radical sound poetry of Russian Cubo-Futurism, Kruchenykh also cobbled together dozens of artist’s books in tiny editions, using materials purloined from his day job at a railway office. They’re like little cannonballs— powerful kernels of “explodity,” to use one of his words. And they explore not only language but collage: One of Kruchenykh’s books from 1916, Universal War, features cut-paper collages that anticipate Matisse’s paper cutouts but contain more overtly political overtones. These have been on view at the Museum Ludwig in Cologne since last spring as part of their “Russian Avant Garde” series (there, they are attributed to his collaborator Olga Rozanova, but recent scholarship indicates that these visionary works are actually by Kruchenykh).

2 The diagram (

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