Our first featured book is the result of a fascinating project carried out by the Getty Research Institute in L.A., simply titled ‘G’.
Originally published in Germany between 1923- 26, G was Hans Richter’s answer to the contemporary zine. Published from his living room with the assistance of Bauhaus architect Mies van der Rohe, it combined some of the latest work and writings by the who’s who of the European avant-garde.
Until recently the journals have only ever been available in the original German with accompanying translations. But after much painstaking work carried out by designers, typographers, translators and art historians English-speaking audiences can now experience all six issues of G as they were originally intended. The number of times I’ve come away from bookshops having bought books in languages I will never learn is testament to how integral the design of a book can be to communicating its content. Looking through facsimiles of the original issues of G I couldn’t help but be alarmed by the exclamation marks (!!!), the pointing fingers and the letter spacing of
a r c h i t e k t o n i s c h e n I m p e r i a l i s m u s
in Ludwig Hilberseimer’s article Amerikanische Architecktur.
It is a remarkable thing to have the experience of folding out the tabloid-like issue, G1, as you might the Sunday paper, browsing through articles by Theo van Doesburg, Raoul Hausmann and Mies van der Rohe, and comprehending (at least in part) why El Lissitzky chose to underline the sentence “The room is there for humans, not humans for the room”.
G: An Avant-Garde Journal of Art, Architecture, Design, and Film 1923-1926 is edited by Detlef Mertins and Michael W. Jennings.