Photocollage was born of the mass-propagation of newly illustrated magazines and newspapers at the beginning of the 20th century. John Heartfield and Hannah Höch were among those who experimented with this new technique in western Europe, while Rodchenko and Gustav Klutsis were doing so in Russia. These compositions characterised by their unexpected combinations are a Soviet avant-garde alternative to painting.
The most remarkable photocollages are the cover and illustrations for Mayakovsky's poem Pro Eto (About This), 1923 in which Mayakovsky writes of his painful separation from Lily Brik. The abrupt juxtapositions of Rodchenko's collages evoke the vivid imagery and poetic leaps of Mayakovsky's verse.
i. Pro eto Cover
ii. Photomontage for Part I: Ballad of Reading Gaol - The Man from seven years back / I paw at my ears / In vain of course / It continues / My own / My own voice's echo / the knife of my voice / Cuts my ears through my paws.
iii. Photomontage for Part I: Ballad of Reading Gaol - The duel / ... out of cords / came jealousy crawling, / a cave dwelling monster, / a troglodyte.
iv. Photomontage of Part I: Ballad of Reading Gaol - My ballad and ballads in general / She's in bed / Lying awake / He / At the telephone / By the table.
v. Photomontage for Part II: Christmas Eve - Recapitulation / I catch my balance / Waving crazily.
vi. Photomontage for part II: Christmas Eve - Friends / And again the walls / Like a blistering steppe / Sigh and ring / With the damned two-step.
vii. Photomontage for part II: Christmas Eve - Fyokla Davidovna's husband / Age upon Age / The same old sludge / Unwhipped / Domesticity's mare won't budge
viii. Photomontage for part III: Application to... / Four times I'll age / And glow young anew.
ix. Photomontage for part III: Application to... / Love / ... (she too loved beasts), / she'll come to see the zoo.
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