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Abeceda Book
The book Abeceda (Alphabet) is a composite of experimental poetry, modern dance, graphic design and photomontaged typography, based on a poem by Vitĕzslav Nezval in the order of the letters of the Latin alphabet. Each double page features a set of quatrains facing a sometimes abstracted letter composed of typographic elements and a photograph of the dancer Milca Mayerova.

Nezval wrote the poem in the late 1922, inspired by ‘the intellectual gymnastics afforded by poetry’s most immediate object: letters’. He concentrated on letters primarily for their visual suggestiveness. Thus, the opening line to many quatrains focuses on an image from which he then develops his themes and associations. ‘A’, for example, is introduced as a ‘simple hut’, ‘C’ as the moon.

Mayerova based her choreography, consisting of about three to four poses per quatrain, on Nezval’s verses rather than conceiving an independent interpretation. For ‘H’, she figures the simple act of respiration described in the text. Her pose has also been read as a ‘triumphant step of an emancipated “modern woman” in the parlance of the time’. Mayerova’s outfit, a dark, sleeveless top and shorts with a stripe on both sides, topped by a tightly fitted cap of the same design, furthers heightens this emphasis. The photographs by Karel Paspa record one pose each, matching with the line of the poem that provides the visual association for each letter.

In his seminal credo Moderní Typo (Modern Typography), Karel Teige remarks, ‘In Nezval’s Abeceda, a cycle of rhymes based on the shapes of letters, I tried to create a “typofoto” of a purely abstract and poetic nature, setting into graphic poetry what Nezval set into verbal poetry in his verse, both being poems evoking the magic signs of the alphabet’.

In his layout Teige respects the integrity of the text, but also plays with it, as well as with photographs of the dancer and the letters themselves. He was not trying to illustrate the words through images or typography, but instead to foster a similarly poetic dialogue between text and images. The entire project thereby explored the relationships between verbal and visual art, industrial technology and mass media in a new way.

‘Abeceda’ written by Vitĕzslav Nezval
Karel Teige (1900-51)
Czechoslovakia
1923
Letterpress on paper
30.5 x 47cm
Abeceda Antiquariat, Munich
Click on the image to see an enlarged version

Image 1

‘Abeceda’ written by Vitĕzslav Nezval
Karel Teige (1900-51)
Czechoslovakia
1923
Letterpress on paper
30.5 x 47cm
Abeceda Antiquariat, Munich
Click on the image to see an enlarged version
‘Abeceda’ written by Vitĕzslav Nezval
Karel Teige (1900-51)
Czechoslovakia
1923
Letterpress on paper
30.5 x 47cm
Abeceda Antiquariat, Munich
Click on the image to see an enlarged version
‘Abeceda’ written by Vitĕzslav Nezval
Karel Teige (1900-51)
Czechoslovakia
1923
Letterpress on paper
30.5 x 47cm
Abeceda Antiquariat, Munich
Click on the image to see an enlarged version
‘Abeceda’ written by Vitĕzslav Nezval
Karel Teige (1900-51)
Czechoslovakia
1923
Letterpress on paper
30.5 x 47cm
Abeceda Antiquariat, Munich
Click on the image to see an enlarged version
‘Abeceda’ written by Vitĕzslav Nezval
Karel Teige (1900-51)
Czechoslovakia
1923
Letterpress on paper
30.5 x 47cm
Abeceda Antiquariat, Munich
Click on the image to see an enlarged version
‘Abeceda’ written by Vitĕzslav Nezval
Karel Teige (1900-51)
Czechoslovakia
1923
Letterpress on paper
30.5 x 47cm
Abeceda Antiquariat, Munich
Click on the image to see an enlarged version
‘Abeceda’ written by Vitĕzslav Nezval
Karel Teige (1900-51)
Czechoslovakia
1923
Letterpress on paper
30.5 x 47cm
Abeceda Antiquariat, Munich
Click on the image to see an enlarged version
‘Abeceda’ written by Vitĕzslav Nezval
Karel Teige (1900-51)
Czechoslovakia
1923
Letterpress on paper
30.5 x 47cm
Abeceda Antiquariat, Munich
Click on the image to see an enlarged version
‘Abeceda’ written by Vitĕzslav Nezval
Karel Teige (1900-51)
Czechoslovakia
1923
Letterpress on paper
30.5 x 47cm
Abeceda Antiquariat, Munich
Click on the image to see an enlarged version
‘Abeceda’ written by Vitĕzslav Nezval
Karel Teige (1900-51)
Czechoslovakia
1923
Letterpress on paper
30.5 x 47cm
Abeceda Antiquariat, Munich
Click on the image to see an enlarged version
‘Abeceda’ written by Vitĕzslav Nezval
Karel Teige (1900-51)
Czechoslovakia
1923
Letterpress on paper
30.5 x 47cm
Abeceda Antiquariat, Munich
Click on the image to see an enlarged version
‘Abeceda’ written by Vitĕzslav Nezval
Karel Teige (1900-51)
Czechoslovakia
1923
Letterpress on paper
30.5 x 47cm
Abeceda Antiquariat, Munich
Click on the image to see an enlarged version
‘Abeceda’ written by Vitĕzslav Nezval
Karel Teige (1900-51)
Czechoslovakia
1923
Letterpress on paper
30.5 x 47cm
Abeceda Antiquariat, Munich
Click on the image to see an enlarged version
‘Abeceda’ written by Vitĕzslav Nezval
Karel Teige (1900-51)
Czechoslovakia
1923
Letterpress on paper
30.5 x 47cm
Abeceda Antiquariat, Munich
Click on the image to see an enlarged version
‘Abeceda’ written by Vitĕzslav Nezval
Karel Teige (1900-51)
Czechoslovakia
1923
Letterpress on paper
30.5 x 47cm
Abeceda Antiquariat, Munich
Click on the image to see an enlarged version
‘Abeceda’ written by Vitĕzslav Nezval
Karel Teige (1900-51)
Czechoslovakia
1923
Letterpress on paper
30.5 x 47cm
Abeceda Antiquariat, Munich
Click on the image to see an enlarged version
‘Abeceda’ written by Vitĕzslav Nezval
Karel Teige (1900-51)
Czechoslovakia
1923
Letterpress on paper
30.5 x 47cm
Abeceda Antiquariat, Munich
Click on the image to see an enlarged version
‘Abeceda’ written by Vitĕzslav Nezval
Karel Teige (1900-51)
Czechoslovakia
1923
Letterpress on paper
30.5 x 47cm
Abeceda Antiquariat, Munich
Click on the image to see an enlarged version
‘Abeceda’ written by Vitĕzslav Nezval
Karel Teige (1900-51)
Czechoslovakia
1923
Letterpress on paper
30.5 x 47cm
Abeceda Antiquariat, Munich
Click on the image to see an enlarged version
‘Abeceda’ written by Vitĕzslav Nezval
Karel Teige (1900-51)
Czechoslovakia
1923
Letterpress on paper
30.5 x 47cm
Abeceda Antiquariat, Munich
Click on the image to see an enlarged version
‘Abeceda’ written by Vitĕzslav Nezval
Karel Teige (1900-51)
Czechoslovakia
1923
Letterpress on paper
30.5 x 47cm
Abeceda Antiquariat, Munich
Click on the image to see an enlarged version
‘Abeceda’ written by Vitĕzslav Nezval
Karel Teige (1900-51)
Czechoslovakia
1923
Letterpress on paper
30.5 x 47cm
Abeceda Antiquariat, Munich
Click on the image to see an enlarged version
‘Abeceda’ written by Vitĕzslav Nezval
Karel Teige (1900-51)
Czechoslovakia
1923
Letterpress on paper
30.5 x 47cm
Abeceda Antiquariat, Munich
Click on the image to see an enlarged version
‘Abeceda’ written by Vitĕzslav Nezval
Karel Teige (1900-51)
Czechoslovakia
1923
Letterpress on paper
30.5 x 47cm
Abeceda Antiquariat, Munich
Click on the image to see an enlarged version
‘Abeceda’ written by Vitĕzslav Nezval
Karel Teige (1900-51)
Czechoslovakia
1923
Letterpress on paper
30.5 x 47cm
Abeceda Antiquariat, Munich
Click on the image to see an enlarged version
‘Abeceda’ written by Vitĕzslav Nezval
Karel Teige (1900-51)
Czechoslovakia
1923
Letterpress on paper
30.5 x 47cm
Abeceda Antiquariat, Munich
Click on the image to see an enlarged version
‘Abeceda’ written by Vitĕzslav Nezval
Karel Teige (1900-51)
Czechoslovakia
1923
Letterpress on paper
30.5 x 47cm
Abeceda Antiquariat, Munich
Click on the image to see an enlarged version
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Modernism: Designing A New World 1914 - 19396 April - 23 July 2006sponsored by Habitat
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