The Visible Word: Experimental Typography and Modern Art, 1909-1923 / Edition 2

The Visible Word: Experimental Typography and Modern Art, 1909-1923 / Edition 2

by Johanna Drucker
     
 

ISBN-10: 0226165027

ISBN-13: 9780226165028

Pub. Date: 01/28/1997

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

Early in this century, Futurist and Dada artists developed brilliantly innovative uses of typography - including visual poems and collages of words and letters - that blurred the boundaries between visual art and literature. In The Visible Word, Johanna Drucker shows how later art criticism and literary theory has distorted our understanding of such works. She argues…  See more details below

Overview

Early in this century, Futurist and Dada artists developed brilliantly innovative uses of typography - including visual poems and collages of words and letters - that blurred the boundaries between visual art and literature. In The Visible Word, Johanna Drucker shows how later art criticism and literary theory has distorted our understanding of such works. She argues that Futurist, Dadaist, and Cubist artists emphasized materiality as the heart of their experimental approach to both visual and poetic forms of representation; by midcentury, however, the tenets of New Criticism and High Modernism had polarized the visual and the literary. Drucker skillfully traces the development of this critical position, suggesting a methodology closer to the actual practices of the early avant-garde artists based on a rereading of their critical and theoretical writings. After reviewing theories of signification, the production of meaning, and materiality, she analyzes the work of four poets active in the typographic experimentation of the 1910s and 1920s: Ilia Zdanevich, Filippo Marinetti, Guillaume Apollinaire, and Tristan Tzara. Drucker explores the context for experimental typography in terms of printing, handwriting, and other practices concerned with the visual representation of language. Her book concludes with a brief look at the ways in which experimental techniques of the early avant-garde were transformed in both literary work and in applications to commercial design throughout the 1920s and early 1930s. Few studies of avant-garde art and literature in the early twentieth century have acknowledged the degree to which typographic activity furthered debates about the very nature and function of the avant-garde. The Visible Word enriches our understanding of the processes of change in artistic production and reception in the twentieth century.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780226165028
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
Publication date:
01/28/1997
Edition description:
1
Pages:
306
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.80(d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction: Background Parameters, and Terminology1
1Semiotics, Materiality and Typographic Practice9
2Visual and Literary Materiality in Modern Art49
3Experimental Typography as a Modern Art Practice91
Marinetti: Materiality and Sensation: Mechanical Synaesthesia105
Apollinaire: Figuring the Vernacular140
Zdanevich: Inachievable Essentialism and Zaum Typography168
Tzara: Advertising Language of Commodity Culture193
4Critical History: The Demise of Typographic Experiment223
Notes249
Bibliography273
Index289

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