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Sieg über die Sonne (Krutschonych, Alexej)

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elephants, there are only parts of the poem. (That is dreadful.) And you? (Draws war loan.) Decide yourselves what is poem and what is frame.» [31]

Fine artists increasingly frequently took part in avant-garde plays or even wrote their own pieces in the 1920s. Known works are Kandinsky's drafts for Mussorgsky's «Pictures at an Exhibition» (1928) or Oskar Schlemmer's «Triadisches Ballett» (Triadic Ballet), 1922/26.

An early example of composers and artists working together is provided by the Russian Futurist Alexei Krutschonych's opera. Michail Matjuschin set the libretto of his opera «Sieg über die Sonne» (Victory over the Sun) to music, and Kasimir Malevich designed the costumes and stage set. The piece had its world premiere in St. Petersburg in December 1913. The piece's trans-rational language was made up of incomprehensible word coinages, and came to express the so-called new reason that replaced the old values, symbolized by the sun. The opera was also of lasting importance for artistic development in Russia: Malevich deployed elements of Suprematism for the first time here. The Russian Constructivist El Lissitzky (1890-1941)


takes up the theme again in 1920/21. He designed mechanical figures as a «three-dimensional design for an electro-mechanical show» for a planned new performance of the opera «Sieg über die Sonne» as a multi-media spectacle.

Lissitzky explained his aims himself in the foreword to an edition portfolio containing a selection of the stage designs: «This material is the fragment of a work created in Moscow in 1920/21 … We build a scaffolding in a square that is accessible and open on all sides, that is the show machinery. This scaffolding makes it possible for the show bodies to move in absolutely any way… They glide, roll, float up, in and over the scaffolding. All the parts of the scaffolding and all the bodies involved are set in motion using electro-mechanical forces and devices, and these are controlled by a single person. This is the show designer. His place is in the centre of the scaffolding at the switchboard for all energies. He directs the movement, the sound and the light. He switches the radio megaphone on and the din of railways stations rings out over the square, the roar of Niagara Falls, hammering in a rolling mill. Beams of light follow the

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