MIKHAIL KARASIK’s BOOKS / 1987—1989
Boris Pasternak. Christmas
Leningrad, 1987. 209 × 151 mm. Christmas is a verse from the 17th chapter of Boris Pasternak’s novel Doctor Zhivago (there under the title Christmas Star). Drawings and text were made by the artist with a reed pen. The four sheets of paper were printed in an edition of 30 copies. The sheets were folded, unstitched, and covered by a paper slipcase. The artist printed the book in two versions:
1) 15 copies contain a cover with flaps, lithographed in three colours (black, brown, red);
2) 15 copies have cover and slipcase both lithographed. Because the availability of the right materials was difficult three different kinds of paper were used for the edition: etching paper, lithographic paper, offset paper.
Boris Pasternak. The Garden of Gethsemane
Leningrad, 1988. 150 × 125 mm. The garden of Gethsemane is a verse from the 17th chapter of Boris Pasternak’s novel Doctor Zhivago. The artist made the drawings with a hair brush and the text with a steel pen on three folded sheets of paper. The twelve pages are stapled into a paper cover. The book is held in a cardboard slipcase with lithograph. In 1989, a year after the first limited edition of 25 copies, the Pushkin Museum in Moscow reprinted the book in a 100 copy edition to commemorate Pasternak’s 100th anniversary in 1990. In 1993 Delta publishers in St Petersburg printed a third edition in offset in a
300-copyedition with added explanatory texts in Russian, English, and German (100 copies each)
Boris Pasternak. 12 Poems
Leningrad, 1988. 161 × 126 mm. Twelve poems from the 17th chapter of Boris Pasternak’s novel Doctor Zhivago. The theme of the poems in this Nobel Prize winning novel is the life and death of Christ. These ‘biblical’ poems inspired Karasik for his first artists’ books. For this third book he made the drawings with a hair brush and the text with a steel pen (reed pen on the slipcase and cover). They are printed in black on two unbound jotters with sixteen pages each. The book and eight additional colour lithographs are held in a cardboard slipcase, printed in three colours. The artist printed the edition of 50 copies on three kinds of paper: 10 on white, 20 on ochre ‘Verges’, and 20 on grey ‘Verges’.
Anna Akhmatova. Biblical Verses
Leningrad, 1988. 190 × 150 mm. Biblical verses are poems on biblical themes by Anna Akhmatova, one of Russia’s major 20th century poetesses. Continuing on the biblical theme of his first four books, Karasik drew the illustrations in reed pen on four folded sheets with a text written in steel pen. The 16 pages are loose in a paper cover. The illustration of the frontispiece exists in two versions:
1) a few copies show a detailed portrait drawing of the poetess;
2) the greatest part of the edition contains a line drawing of torso and portrait in profile. Copies of the second are also somewhat larger. The total edition is limited to 46 copies.
The Song of Solomon
Leningrad, 1988. 492 × 330 mm. An album of seven lithographs in black and white illustrating King Salomon’s Song of Songs. The compositions are printed in two tones created by the use of both hair brush and lithographic crayon. The text above the illustrations and on the title page is written with a reed pen. The seven lithographs and the title page are on separate sheets, inserted into a card folder. The artist printed the album in an edition of 20 copies. Of these 10 have a cover in black and white and 10 a colour cover. A booklet with a German translation of the songs as well as an explanatory text written by Kagan was added.
Boris Pasternak. Evil Days
Leningrad, 1989. 161 × 125 mm. Evil Days, a verse from the 17th chapter of Boris Pasternak’s novel Doctor Zhivago. This is the fourth and last book that the artist made based on the ‘biblical’ poems written by Pasternak. The poem is printed in offset on a single sheet of grey ‘Verges’ paper (320 × 260 mm) folded in four. On the top of this page is an illustration highlighted with watercolour are nine lithographs in black with watercolour and bronze-paint highlights were added. The book is printed in an edition of 50 copies in two versions:
1) 20 copies unstitched;
2) 30 copies stapled.
Julian Tuwim. Remember How We Waltzed...
Leningrad, 1989. 226 × 166 mm. Remember how we waltzed, is a poem written by Julian Tuwim
(1894–1953),one of the greatest Polish poets of the 20th century. He was also a major writer of Polish children’s literature. These children’s books were extensively published in Russian during the Soviet era. Similar to the previous book, the artist printed the text of the poem on a single sheet of paper (456 × 334 mm), this time using both sides. Karasik wrote the text using a steel pen and added an illustration in reed pen. The sheet of paper is folded into four and kept in a card cover and slipcase. The cover is printed in three colours.
Mikhail Karasik. Butchering Calves
Leningrad, 1989. 244 × 319 mm. Butchering calves is based on an extract from the artist’s diary written during a trip in 1987to Tadzhikistan, Kishlak of Pushti-Miona. The album contains the text taken from the diary printed in offset on grey paper. Seven full-page lithographs in black follow the text. Karasik printed an edition of 25 numbered copies plus 5 supplementary artist-proofs in three versions:
1) 6 copies unstitched;
2) 12 copies stitched on the left side; 12 copies stitched at the top. All copies have a cardboard slipcase with a collage of original photographs—a chronicle of journeys through Central Asia. In 1996 the artist printed a second edition of the book for which he redrew most of the drawings since the original stones were gone. The 25 copies of this edition contain the text in German translation and have a similar slipcase.
Nikolai Kononov. The Little Swimmer
Leningrad, 1989. 131 × 185 mm. The little swimmer contains eight poems by the contemporary poet Nikolai Kononov, born in Saratov (1953), brought up in Eastern Germany, and now living in St Petersburg. The poet himself wrote the poems on the stone with a steel pen. Karasik added the coloured lines and page numbers in red. The whole was printed on the backside of the 1989 soviet poster “Perestroika. Uskorenie. Glasnost” by the artist V. Trubanov. The poster was cut up into 16 pieces or 32 pages with the even pages showing part of the poster while the odd pages showing the lithographed poems. The pages are stitched inside a black paper cover which is held in a white cardboard slipcase, both have collage additions. To help the reader a booklet with the poems in regular offset print was added at the end to all 36 copies of the edition.