The art behind Russia’s revolutionary uprisings

The art behind Russia’s revolutionary uprisings
Painting politics — A new show at London’s Tate Modern uncovers the history of political Soviet art – from leaflets and banners to propaganda posters and periodicals.

London’s Tate Modern has announced a new exhibition dedicated to the political visual art of Russia and the Soviet Union. The show, titled Red Star over Russia: A Revolution in Visual Culture, will focus specifically on the revolutionary uprisings of the early 20th century, with over 250 posters, paintings, photographs, and books going on display. It will run at the gallery’s Blavatnik Building from November 8th to February 18th 2018.

The exhibition, which coincides with the centenary of Russia’s October revolution, will look at the art behind the most seismic political moments in the country’s history. This includes the overthrow of the last Tsar, Stalin’s campaign of terror, the uprisings of 1917, and the struggles of the Civil War. These political changes not only sparked colossal social change, but also inspired “a wave of innovation in art and graphic design across the country.”

Soviet Union Art Exhibition (Kunst Ausstellung der Sowjetunion, Kunstsalon Wolfsberg), Zurich 1931, Valentina Kulagina. Ne boltai! Collection

Soviet Union Art Exhibition (Kunst Ausstellung der Sowjetunion, Kunstsalon Wolfsberg), Zurich 1931, Valentina Kulagina. Ne boltai! Collection

A Spectre is Haunting Europe, the Spectre of Communism, Valentin Shcherbakov, 1924. Purchased 2016. The David King Collection at Tate

A Spectre is Haunting Europe, the Spectre of Communism, Valentin Shcherbakov, 1924. Purchased 2016. The David King Collection at Tate

“From 1905 to 1955 Russian and Soviet citizens struggled against the odds to build a new society,” explains the official show synopsis. “The exhibition will explore how new popular art in the form of posters, periodicals, leaflets and banners informed, educated and entertained the Russian people, filtering into the everyday lives of tens of millions of citizens.”

The show will feature sharp, vivid, and striking imagery from artists such as Adolf Strakhov, Valentina Kulagina, Dmitrii Moor, El Lissitzky, Aleksandr Rodchenko and Nina Vatolina – much of which will be on public display for the first time. According to the Tate, all imagery featured will be coming from the comprehensive private collection of late graphic artist David King.

The Nightmare of Future Wars - Workers of the World Unite! , Soviet School, 1920s. Purchased 2016. The David King Collection at Tate

The Nightmare of Future Wars – Workers of the World Unite! , Soviet School, 1920s. Purchased 2016. The David King Collection at Tate

Beat the Whites with the Red Wedge, El Lissitzy, 1920. Purchased 2016. The David King Collection at Tate

Beat the Whites with the Red Wedge, El Lissitzy, 1920. Purchased 2016. The David King Collection at Tate

The Task of the Press Is the Education of the Masses, El Lissitzky, 1928. Purchased 2016. The David King Collection at Tate

The Task of the Press Is the Education of the Masses, El Lissitzky, 1928. Purchased 2016. The David King Collection at Tate

Proletarians of all Lands, Unite, Dmitrii Moor, 1918. Purchased 2016. The David King Collection at Tate

Proletarians of all Lands, Unite, Dmitrii Moor, 1918. Purchased 2016. The David King Collection at Tate

Death to World Imperialism, Dmitrii Moor, 1920. Purchased 2016. The David King Collection at Tate

Death to World Imperialism, Dmitrii Moor, 1920. Purchased 2016. The David King Collection at Tate

Alexander Deineka, Stakhanovites
Adolf Strakhov, Emancipated Woman – Build Socialism!, 1926. Purchased 2016. The David King Collection at Tate

Adolf Strakhov, Emancipated Woman – Build Socialism!, 1926. Purchased 2016. The David King Collection at Tate

Don't Chatter! Gossiping Borders on Treason, Nina Vatolina, 1941. Purchased 2016. The David King Collection at Tate

Don’t Chatter! Gossiping Borders on Treason, Nina Vatolina, 1941. Purchased 2016. The David King Collection at Tate

Raise Higher the Banner of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin!, Gustav Klutsis, 1933. Purchased 2016. The David King Collection at Tate

Raise Higher the Banner of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin!, Gustav Klutsis, 1933. Purchased 2016. The David King Collection at Tate

Red Star over Russia: A Revolution in Visual Culture 1905 – 55 will run at the Tate Modern’s Blavatnik Building from November 8th to February 18th, 2018.

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