Sims Reed Rare Books×

Poésie de mots inconnus


Paris. Le Degré 41 / Thésée Galerie Graphique. 1949
The scarce invitation to the opening of the exhibition of Iliazd's typographic masterpiece of visual, phonetic and sound poetry: 'Poésie de Mots Inconnus.'

A typical example of Iliazd's clear typography and likely printed by Imprimerie Union the invitation is printed in characteristic capitals only. The vernissage for the exhibition of the 'bonnes feuilles du livre' took place on '30 juin 1949 à 17 heures' at Louis Broder's 'Thésée Galerie Graphique' in rue de l'Université. The invitation lists the contributing poets and artists in full (using their surnames only) and details that the invitation is issued 'de la part de Louis Broder'; the exhibition continued until July 12th.

Iliazd had assembled examples of visual and sound poetry (dada, Futurism, zaum, calligrammatic and so on) to demonstrate a historical context denied by the provocative Isidore Isou and a younger generation of iconoclastic Lettrists. A battle of letters had developed over the previous couple of years and 'Poésie de Mots Inconnus' was to be Iliazd's published riposte after the chaotic mélée that concluded his 1947 lecture 'Après Nous le Lettrisme'. Iliazd's response to the Lettrists was a remarkable interplay of typographic innovation and illustration, a demonstration of the novelties of the pioneers of visual poetry combined with the illustrative printing techniques of the visual avant garde (see below for a complete list of the poets and artists involved). As per Johanna Drucker: 'He [Iliazd] was not so much working at a mimetic redundancy of verbal and graphic qualities as he was demonstrating the theatrical potential of the page.'

'Ce livre édité par Iliazd vient en réponse aux prétentions novatrices des lettristes. Iliazd y rassemble vingt-et-un poètes et vingt-trois peintres. Poèmes de Akinsemomyin, Albert-Birot, Arp, Artaud, Audiberti, Ball, Beauduin, Bryen, Dermée, Hausmann, Huidobro, Iliazd, Jolas, Khlébnikov, Krutchonykh, Picasso, Poplavsky, Schwitters, Seuphor, Téréntiev, Tzara, ornés de gravures et lithographies par Arp, Braque, Bryen, Chagall, Dominguez, Férat, Giacometti, Gleizes, hausmann, Laurens, Léger, Magnelli, Masson, Matisse, Metzinger, Miro, Picasso, Survage, Taueber-Arp, Tytgat, Villon, Wols, Ribemont-Dessaignes.' (From the catalogue of the Fonds Iliazd in the Bibliothèque Kandinsky, Paris).
[Single folded sheet]. 16mo. (210 x 135 mm, unfolded). Bifolium of thick wove paper (likely the same as that for the printed book) with letterpress printed text in black recto and verso.

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