Blaise Cendrars (1887, La Chaux-de-Fonds – 1961, Paris)
Fernand Léger (1881, Argentan – 1955, Gif-sur-Yvette)
Album, Published by Editions de la Sirène, Paris
Biot, musée national Fernand Léger, donated by the Jeanne Bucher Gallery, Paris, 1996
In October 1919, this text by Blaise Cendrars was published in the form of an album containing 22 illustrations by Léger, including 20 coloured stencils. He tells a satirical tale of the apocalypse of the modern world in 55 short chapters. Léger’s illustrations in the altogether experimental typography incorporate lettering, numbers, advertising slogans and quotes in often scattered compositions that reflect the chaos of city living. The plastic strength of printed characters combined with the flat patches of colour is reminiscent of the painter’s fascination with advertising imagery. Alluding to the text designed by Cendrars as a film script, Léger plays around with surprising effects of framing and close-ups which evoke the fade-out principle used in films as each page is turned.