Zenit

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Zenit 4, May 1921, cover.
Zenit 13, April 1922, cover.
Zenit 17-18, September-October 1922, cover.
Mihailo Petrov, Poster for the first Zenit international exhibition, collage, 1924.

Zenit, International Review of Arts and Culture, enjoyed a reputation as the only Yugoslav avant-garde journal, which was part of the international avant-garde scene at the beginning of the 1920s. Its founder, editor and the chief ideologist of the Zenit programme Ljubomir Micić, poet and art critic, intended to introduce social and artistic principles of avant-garde to Croatia and Serbia, particularly constructivism, futurism and Dada.

The journal was launched in February 1921 and published monthly in Zagreb (1921-23) and Belgrade (1923-26) until December 1926, when it was banned by the authorities. A total of 43 issues were published (including special number dedicated to young Czech artists, and No. 17-18 to the new Russian Art, edited by Ilya Ehrenburg and El Lissitzky), as well as one poster, "Zenitismus", and one issue of a daily Zenit newspaper dated 23 September 1922. The magazine brought together a number of collaborators: Marijan Mikac, Jo Klek (Josip Seissel), Vilko Gecan, Mihailo Petrov, Boško Tokin, Stanislav Vinaver, Rastko Petrovic, Branko Ve Poljanski (Branko Micić), Dragan Aleksic, Milos Crnjanski, Dusan Matic and others. Other collaborators and contributors included the French poet Ivan Goll, Alexander Archipenko, Ilya Ehrenburg, Wassily Kandinsky, El Lissitzky, Louis Lozowick, Alexander Blok, Jaroslav Seifert. The visual contributions by Jo Klek and Mihailo Petrov epitomized Zenitist art and painting.


In the early days the Zenitist movement shared many characteristics with expressionism (and partially with constructivism) with outstanding anti-militant orientation, cherishing the spirit of internationalism and revolutionaries due to a strong influence of the Russian revolution. Its main aim was the creation of the new men by the means of new art. It promoted the idea of the Balkanisation of Europe through the metaphoric figure of the Balkan Barbarogenius.[1]

"Zenitist Manifesto" of June 1921 (published in Zagreb), signed by Micić, Tokin and Gol, proclaimed humanist and anti-war ideals, and called for the creation of a new and united Europe. Other programmatic texts include "Man and the Art", "Zenitosophia or the Energy of the Creative Zenitism", and "The Categorical Imperative of the Zenitist Poet School".

Zenit cooperated with other avant-garde reviews such as De Stijl, L'Espirit Nuovo, Der Sturm, MaHer Oberzic. They were also involved in book publishing; organizing lectures, exhibitions, and soirees; and art collecting. [2]

The last issue (No. 4, December 1926) was banned because of the collaboration of the Russian artists and M. Rasinov's article "Zenitism Through the Prism of Marxism" [Zenitizam kroz prizmu marksizma].[3]

Issues[edit]

In PDF: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17-18, 19-20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26-33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43. All issues in ZIP.

Scans in Digital collection of National Library of Serbia (from Archive.org).

Scans in World Digital Library.

Reprint[edit]

The monograph Zenit 1921-1926 published by Narodna biblioteka Srbije i Prosvjeta Zagreb in 2008 includes studies about literary and visual culture of Zenit, the complete chronicles of the periodical, biographies of all the contributors, a bibliography, a list of literature on Zenit and zenithism, as well as a valuable webography. The book was printed in full color, on 530 pages, and equipped with illustrations from the magazine, as well as with photographs of contemporary celebrities. Some of the photographs appear for the first time.

The same year another reprint was published by Horetzky in Zagreb.

Literature[edit]

  • Irina Subotić, "'Zenit' and 'Zenitism'", trans. Ann Vasić, The Journal of Decorative and Propaganda Arts 17, Yugoslavian Theme Issue (Autumn 1990), pp 14-25.
  • Irina Subotić, "The avant-garde visionary and utopian model proposed by Ljubomir Micic and his journal Zenit", Balkan Studies 3-4 (1996), pp 54-57.
  • Dragan Kujundzic, Jasna Jovanov, "Yougo-Dada", in Gerald Janecek and Toshiharu Omuka (eds.), The Eastern Dada Orbit. Crisis and the Arts. The History of Dada 4, New York, 1998, 58 ff.
  • Irina Subotić, "Istorijske avangarde: dadaizam - zenitizam - nadrealizam", in Od Avangarde do Arkadije, Belgrade: Clio, 2000. (in Serbo-Croatian)
  • Milan Grba, "Belgrade", in Stephen Bury (ed.), Breaking the Rules. The Printed Face of the European Avant Garde 1900-1937, London: The British Library, 2007, pp 74-76.
  • Vidosava Golubović, "The Zenit Periodical (1921-1926)", Zenit 1921-1926, Belgrade: National Library of Serbia, 2008.
  • Irina Subotić, "The Visual Culture of the Zenit Periodical and Its Publications", Zenit 1921-1926, Belgrade: National Library of Serbia, 2008.
  • Darko Šimičić, "Strategije u borbi za novu umjetnost. Zenitizam i dada u srednjoeuropskom kontekstu", in Moderna umjetnost u Hrvatskoj, 1898.-1975., Zagreb: Institut za povijest umjetnosti, 2012, pp 40-65.
  • Jasmina Čubrilo, "Yugoslav avant-garde review Zenit (1921-1926) and its links with Berlin", Centropa 12:3 (September 2012).

Film[edit]

See also[edit]

Links[edit]


Avant-garde and modernist magazines

Poesia (1905-09, 1920), Der Sturm (1910-32), Blast (1914-15), The Egoist (1914-19), The Little Review (1914-29), 291 (1915-16), MA (1916-25), De Stijl (1917-20, 1921-32), Dada (1917-21), Noi (1917-25), 391 (1917-24), Zenit (1921-26), Broom (1921-24), Veshch/Gegenstand/Objet (1922), Die Form (1922, 1925-35), Contimporanul (1922-32), Secession (1922-24), Klaxon (1922-23), Merz (1923-32), LEF (1923-25), G (1923-26), Irradiador (1923), Sovremennaya architektura (1926-30), Novyi LEF (1927-29), ReD (1927-31), Close Up (1927-33), transition (1927-38).