You, poets, producers, musicians, prose writers.
You, jewellers of gesture, messengers of colour and line, gravers of word.
You, mercenaries of the beaty, hucksters of true strophes, acts, pictures, canvases. We are ashamed, ashamed and joyful awaring that we must roar out today for you old truth. And what must we do, if you did not roar out about it themselves? This truth is brief as a woman's love, is precise as a pharmaceutical scales, and blazing as an electric bulb out of steel.
The baby, the vociferous guy of ten years (born 1909 – died 1919), passed away. The futurist croaked. Let's strike up concurrently: for futurism – futuric death. The academism of the futuristic dogmata, as a cotton wool, closes all youth's ears. Futurism is making life colourless.
Oh, do not triumph, the bald-headed symbolists, and you, touchingly naive passeists. Not back from futurism, but across its corpse forward and forward, more left and more left we call upon to go.
This is nasty and sick for us that all youth, who must look for new forms, perch themselves with their youthful heat to the fleshy and ponderous nipples of the futurism, this townswoman, who, forgotten about her turbulent years, became a «good tone», a privilege of the dilettanti. Hey, you, who enter after us on the untrodden paths and crossroads of Art, go into the asphalted broad streets of the words, gestures, paints. Do you know, what is it – futurism: this is a sandal from art, this is a Nietzscheanism of form, this is a nadsonovshina disguised under modernity.
It is funny, when they say about content of Art. It is very long process to learn to be illiterate and to claim: «To write about city».
The subject, content – a blind gut of art – should not protrude, as a hernia, out of the work of art. But the futurism worried nothing but the form, willing to be behind Parnas and symbolists, spoke about form, but thought only about content. All its attention focused on how to look more urban. And then is coming the day of reckoning. The art based on the content, the art based on the intuition (it will be good – to cancel this rent of fools), the art, framed habit, must be killed by the hysterics. Oh, this hysterics is killing futurism for a long time. You, blind men and imitators, plagiarists and fellow travellers, do not notice this process. You did not see a pus of a despair and only now, – when the nose of novelty of the futurism came down, – and you, damn you, finally deigned to observe it. The subject, content – a blind gut of art – should not protrude, as a hernia, out of the work of art. But a futurism only and did, worrying about the form, did not want to be behind Parnas and symbolists, spoke about form, but thought only about content. All its attention focused on how to look more urban. And then is coming the day of reckoning. The art based on the content, the art based on the intuition (it will be good – to cancel this rent of fools), the art, framed habit, must be killed by the hysterics. Oh, this hysterics kills futurism for a long time. You, blind men and imitators, plagiarists and fellow travellers, do not notice this process. You did not see a pus of a despair and only now, – when the nose of novelty of the futurism came down, – and you, damn you, finally deigned to observe it.
The futurism shouted about a sunshine and joyfulness, but was gloomy and morose.
This is the warehouse of a tragedy and pain. The callosities from eyewater are under the eyes.
The futurism, which called to harlequinade, came to the wintry mystics, to the mystery-play of town. We say to you: never the art be so closely to naturalism and so far from realism yet as at the present time, in the period of the tertiary futurism. Its poesy – is the heart-rending whining of Mayakovsky, poetic bawdry of Kruchenykh and Burlyuk, its painting – is bricks and translations Picasso into the language of native aspens, this is a fico in the theatre, there is a zero in the prose, there are the two zeros in the music (00 – vacant).
You, who still dare to hear, who because of habit «to feel» didn't unlearn to think, let forget about an existence of the futurism, how we forgot about the existence of naturalists, decadents, romantics, classics, impressionists and other rubbish. Damn all this nonsense.
With our throats 42 centimeters wide on the strong gun-carriage of the muscular logics we, the group of imaginists, issue our orders to you.
We are the authentic workmen of Art, we, who file down the image, who scour form out the dust of content better than the street bootblack, – we affirm the single law of Art, the single incomparable method is a detection of life through the image and rythmics of images. Oh, you hear in our works of art the vers libre of images.
There is the image and the image only. The image – from the level of analogies, parallelisms, comparisons, contrapositions, the epithets compressed and open, the supplements of polythematic many-storied constructions – is a supplement to «Niva» («Field»). The image only, as a naphthalene, which the work of art is larded, save this work of art from the moths of time. The image – is an armour of line. This is an armour of the canvas. This is the serf artillery of the theatrical performance.
Any content of the work of art is so foolish and meaningless as the labels out of newspapers on the canvases. We preach the most exact and clear differentiation of Art. We do not propose to depict a town, a country, our age and past ages, this everything is for content, it is not interesting for us, but for critics, who take it to pieces. Pass what do you want, but not by the contemporary rythmics of images. We speak about contemporary one, because we do not know about the past rythmics, we are ignoramuses in it, as an our grey-haired passeists.
We with a flat pleasure beforehand take all the reproaches that our art is speculative, strained, with a perspiration from a work. Oh, there is no greater compliment for us as this, you, cranks, could not think out. Yes. We are proud that our head is not subordinated to fretful boy – heart. And we consider, that if we have a brain in the noddle, but we have no important cause to ignore them existance. We leave our heart and sensitivity for life, and we enter into the impudent, free creation not as a guessed, but naive creator, but as wise who understood. To be a Columbus with opened eyes, as a Columbus against one's will, as a Columbus without maps – it is not for us.
We undividedly and imperatively approve the following materials for the creators.
Poet works with word, who takes it only in the vivid meaning. We do not want, as futurists, to fool audience and claim a patent of the word creation, novelty etc., etc., because this is the duty of any poet, without difference what poetic school he belongs to.
A prose writer distinguishes from a poet only by rhythmics of his creative work.
For a painter – is a paint, refracted in the mirrors (shopwindows or lakes), texture.
Any stiker of the outside objects on the canvas transforms it into the okroshka.
Artist, remember, the theatre is a not a place for the staging of literature. The theatre is an image of a movement. Emancipation from the musics, literature, painting – these are for the theatre.
For a sculptor – is a line, for a musician... for the musician – is nothing, because the musicians did not come to the futurism yet. Really, these are the professional passeists.
Note, how we are happy. We have no a philosophy, We do not introduce a logic of ideas. The logic of an certainty is stronger most of all.
We did not convinced of, that only we are on the right way, we know. If we do not urge to destroy a antiquity, only because we are very busy to scavenge. For it there are gravediggers, jackals of the futurism. In our days of a housing chill only an ardour of our works of art can warm the souls of readers, spectators. We present with joy all intuition of perception to them, the godfathers of Art.
We can be so indulgent, that later, when you, now untalented reader without brain, will rise up and become wiser, – we permit you even argue against us.
From our soul, as from a ration card, we cut off a May spring coupon. And those, who live more intensively, who live by two first Category, will find plenty out of our manifest.
If anybody doesn't feel too lazy – make a philosophy of imaginism, explain the fact of our appearance with so deepness you want. We do not know, may be, because in Mexica yesterday was rain, may be because last year your soul whelped, may be, by other motives, – but the imaginism must be appear, and we proud with we are of its armor-bearers, that with us, as with posters, it talks with you.
The forefront of the imaginists.
The poets: Sergey Yesenin, Rjurik Ivnev, Anatoly Mariengof, Vadim Shershenevich.
The painters: Boris Erdman, Georgy Yakulov.
The musicians, sculptors and others: au?
«Sirena» («Siren»). Illustrated biweekly.
Voronezh. January 30, 1919