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Art, Design and Revolution

Russian Art and Design 1917 to 1945

Felicity Booth

on 25 April 2010

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Transcript of Art, Design and Revolution

Art, Design and Revolution
Russia 1914-45 1. Key information and significant dates

2. Avant Garde art

3. Revolutionary art and design

3. Soviet art under Stalin Russia is pretty big
population in 1914 was only 115 million
only about 20% lived in towns/cities of more than 5000 people
only 3.5 million people employed in industry
everyone else was rural based and employed in agriculture
and related activities
Autocracy - Tsar was head of state and head of government Key dates Russia in World War 1 WW1 was a disaster for old Tsarist Russia
Turned a bad economic and political situation into
a desperate one
151, 000 soldiers killed, 683,000 wounded and 895,000
taken prisoner in first 3 months of the war
Vicious cycle of economic problems - labour shortages, food
shortages, increased demand for goods, inadequate transport
system, disruption of foreign trade, decline in Government
revenue - together these problems overwhelmed the state
Eg bag of rye flour costs 6 1/2 roubles in 1914, in 1917 it cost
40 roubles
In 1914 there were 68 strikes, in Jan- Feb 1917 there were 1330 1917 - Feb - Mar - Revolution in Petrograd
Provisional government established
Tsar Nicholas II abdicated
April - Lenin return from exile to Russia
July - July Days demonstrations against the government
Oct-Nov - Bolshevik Revolution
1918 - Outbreak of civil war - White Tsarist supporters against the Reds
Mar - Russia signs peace treaty with Germany and Austria
July - Execution of the royal family
1921 - Civil war ends
1922 - Stalin becomes General Secretary of the Communist Party
1923 - Soviet constitution introduced
1924 Jan - Lenin dies
Early 20th century Art Futurist, Cubist and
De Stijl influences Natalia Goncharova
The Cyclist
1912-13 Kasimir Malevich
An Englishman in Moscow
1914 Malevich's Suprematism - Striving for purely abstract paintings

"I have destroyed the ring of the horizon and escaped from the
circle of things... To reproduce beloved objects and little corners of nature is just like a theif being enraptured by his legs in irons"
Black square 1913 White on White 1917 Two dimensional self portrait 1915 Tatlin's Constructivism
Travelled to Berlin and Paris in 1913
Returned to Moscow and started making his 'constructions'
Called Malevich's painting amateur!

Art of real materials in real space
Slogan "Art into Life"

Monument to the 3rd International 1919-20 Refief 1914 Corner Relief 1915 Naum Gabo - Head 1916

"I do not hesitate to affirm that the
perception of space is a primary sense... Our
task is to bring it closer to our consciousness; so
that the sensation of space will become for us a
more elementary and everyday emotion..."

"The shapes we are creating are not abstract, they are
absolute... The emotional force of an absolute shape
is unique.. Vkhutemas:

Revolution was not initially anti avant garde culture.
Recognised art as part of life
And crucially, saw how it could be made use of
Worked to put art on a level with other types of labour "Creation ... represents a kind of labour"
Alekandr Bogdanov, 1920, co-editor of Proletarian Culture
From 1917 onward artist were employed to produce
art for the revolution, those involved in the avant garde
debates at Vkhutemas were no exception. Malevich - The Red Cavelry 1918 Alexandr Rodchenko Influenced by Dada
Rejected Malevich
Moved into Photomontage and then
photography in 1920's cover of: Pro eto. Ei i Mne.
(About This. To Her and to Me.)
by Mayakovsky, 1923 Lilya Brink, poster for publishers
1923 Civil War - The Red Wedge El Lissitzky
Beat the Whites with the
Red Wedge 1919 Nicoli Koli
The Red Wedge
1918 Dimty Moor
Have you volunteered
1920 Vladimir Kozlinsky
The Dead of the Paris Commune Have
Risen under the Red Banner of the Soviets
1921 Vladimir Lebedeb
Peasants, if you dont want to feed
the landlords, feed the men at the
front instead, who are defending
your land and your freedom
1920 Posters - civil war Vadimir Kozlinsky Street All Power to the Soviets Sheets from the unpublished album
'Petersburg Today' - 1919
linocuts Department for Agitation and Propaganda - agitprop agitprop trains - 1919-20 Propaganda - revolutionary meaning = dissemination of ideas
or information - an influence on the mind

Agitation - a stirring of the emotions

Drama, street performance, film and printed matter Ivan Alexayev and Olga Alexeyeva
Design for festive decoration, Moscow 1918 Natalya Agapyeva
Peddler costume design
1918 Dimtry Moor Help, 1921 The Revolution used design
to penitrate all aspects of life Lenin and literacy: Lenin though the best way to convince the people
of Russia that the revolution was in their interests was to
educate them - by 1939 over 70% of the population was literate Yelizaveta Kruglikova
Women! Learn your letters
1923 Sergei Ivanov
Books Are Nothing But Men Talking
To Everyone
1920 The Liberated Proletarian - 1921 Workers Of The World, Unite! - 1922 Sergei Chekhonin
Plate designs 1919-21 Natalya Danko
Working Woman
Embrodering A Banner
1919 1922 Soviet Union officially founded
The project to modernise began in earnest
Wanted to transform the backward agrarian
country into a modern industrial state.
Belief that by printing modern, industrial and
other images onto clothing and household fabrics
would help raise the individuals political consciousness
transforming them into the ideal Soviet person

By June 1918 the largest textile mills had been nationalised.
Artists were asked to help revitalise and recreate the textile
industry - Varvara Stepanova and Liubov Popanova were
two Constructivist artists who answered the cause "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised" Varvara Stepanova Sports wear designs 1924 fabric design 1924 All-Union Textile Syndicat Created in 1922 to centrally control all aspects of textile
manufacture in USSR -including
imports of cotton and wool and exports of
printed cloth.
industrial production
design of printed fabrics - Arts Council approved or declined
artists submissions
fabrics were considered "ideological goods"

Industrialisation Collective agriculture Transport Youth Energy Thematic textile design was abandoned
in 1933 due to
1. infighting about what should be deemed
appropriate design
2. Refusal of the soviet citizens to buy or wear
the fabrics - while hyperbolic messages were
tolerated on posters, in literature and in films. hydroelectric dams on pillowcases was a little too much! Factory Workers 1928-32 Raisa Matveeva
Smokestacks, Hammers and Gears
1929 Treshers and Tractors c.1929 Marya Anufrieva
Women Harvesting
1928-32 Propellers 1928-32 Elizaveta Nikitina
Children Exercising
1930-32 Hydroelectric dam c. 1929 Alexei Radakov
He Who Is Illiterate Is Like A Blind Man.
Failure And Misfortune Lie In Wait For Him On All Sides
Art Under Stalin Joseph Stalin was General Secretary of the Communist Party
of the Soviet Union's Central Committee from 1922 until his death
in 1956. After Lenin's death in 1924 he was the leader of the Soviet Union

Things got tough under Stalin
Instituted a command economy - successive 5 year plans
Rapid industrialisation and collectivisation - lead to disrupted supply of all goods especially food
Widespread famine - eg.1932-3
Mounting paranoia
End of any freedom to experiment in the arts - the new art of Lenin's revolution was deemed unpatriotic and bourgeois
Stalin wanted an art that was easily understood - Socialist Realism was born.
MOSSKh Created on 25th June 1932
Essential role was ideological control of artistic production
Forum for supervised debate
A medium for government to communicate with artists
An evangelising entity

Comrade Kogan of the Moscow party committee told MOSSKh
"You have to be the ideological fist of the party, so that they [artists]
understand that there subsists in you a control which will not overlook
or turn a blind eye to anything"

"Remember that you answer for everything that happens on the art front
and that 'for Bolsheviks, ignorance is no excuse'. And if you don't know
that it will bury you."

"You must know the mood of every artist, his works, his problems, his
successes, his dreams and hopes." Aleksandr Kuprin
Baku Oil Rigs
1931 Vladimir Serov
Lenin declares Soviet power
1947 Aleksandre Deinika
Lunch break in the Donbass
1935 Vera Mukina
Industrial Worker and Collective Farm Girl
Paris International Exhibition 1937 Themes Stalin - Personality Cult Efanov
An unforgettable meeting
1936-7 Aleksandr Gerasimov
Stalin reports at the 18th congress of the VKPb
Second World War Russia suffered more casualties than an other country.
War caused hardship throughout the Soviet Union.
However, Stalin's control over all aspects of life, including art and propaganda prevented any rebellion by the people. Aleksandr Laktionov
Letter from the front
1947 Conclusion

Throughout this period all aspects of art and design
were highly politisised.

Revolutionary art penetrated every aspect of daily life.
Government believed that people could be shaped by
the images around them - social determinism.

Ample scope for your essays - but just choose one aspect
of Russian art/desgn of this period to write about. Dont try to
cover the whole period.
Documentary film maker
Dziga Vertov 1922
"Chelovek s kinoapparatom" documentray (1929),
The big city Yokov Protazanov (director)
Aelita, 1924
Author: Alexi Tostoy
Set desgin: Issac Rabinovich and Victor Simov
Costumes: Alexandra Exter Franz Ferdinand album
You Can Have It So Much
designed by Matthew Cooper Saks of 5th Avenue
New York
Want it!
campaign 2009 Alexandr Rodchenko
Novyi Lef
Left Front of the Arts
cover 1928 Aleksandr Rodchenko - photgraphs Fire Escape 1925 Girl with a Leica 1934 Pioneer Girl 1930 Stairs 1930 White Sea Canal 1933 Alexandr Rodchenko
The Press is our weapon
http://prezi.com/wqrc7rlr4csb/ All library books used for this lecture will
be available on restricted loan in next few days Amalgamation of art colleges in Moscow
formed in 1918 by the Revolutionary Government

1926 name was changed from 'studios' to 'institute
now called Vkhutein

dissolved in 1930

Similar to Bauhaus
state sponsored
linking craft and art - modernising both
linking both with industry chair 1928 - Tatlin's antelier El Lissitzky
furniture designs 1929 Designs for the 'house of the peasant'
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