Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Visions of the Soviet Utopia in London

FOR THE first time in over 80 years, part of a unique archive of Soviet posters is to go on display at Pushkin House. Featuring work by designers such as Daniil Cherkes, Yakov Guminer, Gustav Klutsis and Mikhail Taranov, Visions of Utopia presents heroic depictions of soldiers and workers, men and women, building the Soviet Socialist dream.
The posters on display include famous images influenced by the avant-garde movement of Constructivism as well as more conventional designs which illustrate the increasing codification of artistic practice in the USSR towards the end of the 1920s and 1930s.
The posters displayed form a fractional part of a far larger collection of Soviet, Comintern and Cold War posters which belong to the Marx Memorial Library in Clerkenwell. Many were spirited out of the Soviet Union in the 1930s and 1940s by political delegations, visitors and couriers who travelled between the Library and the Soviet Union on fact-finding missions or Communist Party business. Until they were re-discovered in a London warehouse by a former Director of Archives at the Marx Library and catalogued as part of a recent Leverhulme-funded project organised in collaboration with the University of Kent, the unique collection had been all but forgotten.
Team curated by Jane Powell, Grant Pooke and Elena Zaytseva, the exhibition is a collaborative venture between the Marx Library (which is celebrating its 80th anniversary this year), the University of Kent’s School of Arts and Pushkin House.
An illustrated exhibition catalogue is on sale at the cost price of £1.00. All proceeds go towards the charities involved in the exhibition. There will also be a series of associated lectures to run alongside the exhibition. For further details please contact Pushkin House.

Visions of Utopia is hosted by Pushkin House, 5a Bloomsbury Square, London WC1A 2TA. It opens to the public on Friday 8th November and runs until 5th December.

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