By Katsuhiro Otomo
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The lubok’s ludic characteristics further manifest themselves in its similarly humorous treatment of speech balloons15 or scrolls (which some figures still held in their hands as late as the eighteenth century). Lotman chooses a well-known print of the Fool Farnos as illustration: it shows a cloud escaping his backside, with the inscription: “I let out some air (dukh) from my rump, so the mosquitoes I can lump” (484). ” Compare this with Lotman’s description of the lubok’s nonmimetic approach to the image: “The representation of the scene produces a principally different artistic effect from a drawing which the viewer directly associates with some reality or other.
Finally, the final tier—the most dynamic—first shows a shot of a dark tunnel, followed by another panel of a metro train (the train has “burst forth” from the tunnel). ” glares over two panels depicting a station escalator and the exterior of the new station. As I have tried to show by this lengthy exegesis, the poster is quite complex in its unfolding, its design building up a remarkable anticipation which its climax 42 Historical Background relieves. The semiotics of the work lead to an indisputable ideological conclusion: the great civilization of Bolshevism, made possible by the god-like benefactor and father figure Stalin, has led to this exciting scientific and cultural achievement.
19 The Russian print’s longest narrative expression came in the lubok-chapbook or people’s engraved book (narodnaia gravirovannaia kniga)20 such as the Bible of Vasily Koren’, known as the Koren’ Bible (1692–1696). This combined the approaches of illuminated manuscripts and icons for simplified versions of major biblical episodes on sheets sewn together into booklets. Some of these booklets, such as Alexei Rostovtsev’s Petra the Publican (Petra-mytaria) (1740s), were made so as to unfold, harmonica-like, for display of the entire story on a wall—making them suitable for two functions: personal reading and group demonstration/explication: “[They were] read aloud to great numbers of people gathered in a hut, similar to how they would listen together to a fairy tale (even if some in the crowd could read)” (Sakovich: 128).
Akira Vol. I, No. 1 by Katsuhiro Otomo
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