Edition Temmen, Bremen, 1998

In 1998, Staatsbibliothek Berlin and Neues Museum Weserburg organized an exhibition displaying the authors and genres of the non official book publishing in Moscow from the fifties to the present. Attached to an elegant, bulky volume, the CD-ROM documents this exhibition in a rather plain fashion yet quite thoroughly; there are a list of authors and works, information about 27 books, as well as the reproductions of pages mostly with additional German translation. The term 'samizdat' means artists' books: collage works, series of photographs, video stills, hand-made books, poetry of the letters and books of verse in the avantgarde fashion. Ilja Kabakov's Sofa-Bild (Display of An Image) gets along with the exciting moments of a sumo match, political satire, or the book of small ads. The series of advertisements and photographs, which so often display despair and a plea for help, are occasionally interrupted by funny, frivolous texts which make us burst out laughing. Take this: "man of 23, good-tempered, small-eater, playing the guitar, but not half-witted would enter service of tsars, princes, or presidents as court jester. Can one believe the rest of the ads having read this one?