Friday, June 5, 2009


Communist Realism

"The more than half the century of the communist ideology's domination in Russia brought about the most dramatic experience to which art was exposed in the past century. It is difficult today to encompass in ones mind that great space of events and facts which either destroyed or deformed the model of artistic life which had been worked out in the USSR. More particularly so because it was not limited to Russia's geographical borders but, after 1945, included all of Central Europe and part of Germany. That model, exported together with blueprints of a socialist revolution, made its mark on the cultures of many countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America.
The tragedy of the situation in which Russian creative artists found themselves was that - in contradistinction to Italy or Germany - due to the internal entanglement and dilemma posed by the belief in the possibility of achievement of an avant-garde utopia by the participation of art in the revolutionary changes and the existing realities of the "most progressive political system." All avant-garde circles not only supported the communist revolution, but took an active part in bringing it about. The questions raised by the revolution frequently led artists into specific creative activity, generating concepts and questions regarding it. This was so, intra alia, in the case of Russian constructivism in its radical creative phase. The artist of that school voiced the death of art and declared belief in the coming "culture of work." On the pages of the periodical "Lef" (1923-1925), edited by Majakowski, appeals were made for a final dissociation from all froms of artistic activity. It was proclaimed that the artists are producers "serving their class, their social group." As Majakowski formulated it: "the goal of our group is communist art (hail com-culture and com in general!)" For this circle of artists, communism was synonymous with artistic radicalism, modernity of the language of expression and work on the formulation of new esthetic needs of the community."
Source: Excerpt from Sztuka a systemy totalitarne (Art in a totalitarian system) by Waldemar Baraniewski. Totalitarian Art

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