Soviet Union: avant garde art in the 1930s


USSR in construction, magazine cover

From British daily The Morning Star:

Defining design

(Monday 14 August 2006)

EXHIBITION: USSR in Construction
Room 12, Tate Modern, London SE1

NICK WRIGHT looks at an exhibition of material from the ground-breaking Soviet magazine USSR in Construction.

Tate Modern’s new hanging of material from the ground-breaking magazine USSR in Construction provides a wider public with an insight into those moments in 20th century history when the revolutionary politics of socialist construction was fused with avant garde design.

Aimed at an international working-class audience and published between 1931 and 1941 in Russian, English, German, French and Spanish, USSR in Construction provided a striking visual and propaganda contrast between the startling economic advances in the Soviet Union and the global capitalist crisis.

As Eric Hobsbawm recounts, “A world economic crisis of unprecedented depth brought even the strongest capitalist economies to their knees and seemed to reverse the creation of a single universal world economy.”

Founded by Maxim Gorky and mobilising the talents of El Lissitsky, Alexander Rodchenko and Varvara Stepanova, among others, USSR in Construction set the pace for high production values and innovation.

With clear political and stylistic links with the German Illustrated Workers Press and a modernist aesthetic that swept aside convention, the paper synthesised the talents of many.

Movie ‘Reds’ on DVD: here.

5 thoughts on “Soviet Union: avant garde art in the 1930s

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