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Soviet myth, socialist realism of 1932-1960

Опубликовано: 31.01.2020

Soviet myth, socialist realism of 1932-1960

The exhibition "Soviet Myth, Socialist Realism of 1932 - 1960" at the Drenz Museum demonstrates the struggle of artists with compulsory themes of that time.

And so it happened. Tupan adjusted his original plans, thanks to these rich opportunities, he was able to limit his theme to the Soviet Union: "Soviet myth, socialist realism 1932 - 1960". He selected seventy paintings and six sculptures together with guest curator and Slavist Seng Shiyen. An extremely large loan will be transferred by truck to Assen via Finland.

On a further visit to St. Petersburg, we will have the opportunity to see what is on display in Assen until June next year in the hall and especially in the warehouses of the Russian Museum. Some cloths fold like carpets, that is, they are so large. Yes, in Stalin's time they did not do less. The glorification of the socialist man was to be grand and striking; preferably in factories, in party offices, in public places. All this is to enrich the Soviet people, to show an ideal society.

The iron shelves of the depot are opened one by one by the curator: various styles are revealed, from great masters such as Kazimir Malevich and Alexander Deyneka, to Isaak Brodsky, Alexander Samchachalov and Arkady Plastov. From avant-garde people who, despite the pressure of the Bolsheviks, tried to maintain their self-esteem to able-bodied farmers, who literally did what they were required to do and portrayed the perfect healthy rouge man working on the ground or in the factory as an athlete or a fan of the Great Leader.

A striking example is the cheerful Kolkhozenfest Plastov since 1937: members of the collective farm enjoy a lot of spices on the table. And this was at a time when there was a huge famine in the Soviet Union as a result of collectivization and millions of people were killed. The task was to give the citizen courage, hope for better times, or hide this horrible reality in the countryside. Pure propaganda.

An exhibition on the subject of socialist realism will not be held so quickly in Russia, says Yevgeny Petrov. The time is not yet over, the memories of the past are still too strong among the older generations. Everyone has a family that directly or indirectly fell victim to it. And young people are not interested in this story.

Shortly after the October Revolution of 1917, when the Bolsheviks seized power, the Russian art world flourished. The artists were inspired by the revolution, believed that art could be "liberated" and deal with old traditions: to get rid of all that salon art, all those worn forms. Artists such as Kandinsky, Malevich and Chagall felt no obstacles in their progressive art. At that time, Russia ruled Europe with its abstract art. According to Petrov, ideas were "buzzing" at the time.

But modernist, abstract works began to annoy the ruling framework of the Communist Party. The strings were tightened, the modernists were labeled parasites and decadent bourgeois artists. Facilities such as the Malevich Innovative Museum of Art Culture have been closed.

Soviet myth, socialist realism of 1932-1960

Since 1932, every artist who wanted to pursue his profession was required to join the state union. All styles were to conform to "socialist realism", or to the taste and will of Joseph Stalin. But what does the term superimposed mean? the battle of interpretation burned out. According to invited curator Sheyen, the artists tried to preserve "their own freedom."

Wander the halls of the Russian Museum in St. Petersburg. Here are a wealth of works of art in all shapes and sizes - from icons from the Middle Ages to the twentieth-century modern, especially from Russian artists, with the exception of one Picasso, Liechtenstein or Warhol. And the crowds pass by this museum. Visitors to St. Petersburg are already completely browsing the giant Hermitage and are not touching this museum, located in the Mikhailovsky Palace.

No matter how big this palace is, it is too small to display all the 375,000 works he owns; most are in warehouses. A delegation from the Drenz Museum with the idea of ​​organizing an exhibition on "socialist realism" went to the Russian Museum to see what could be found there. Curator of contemporary realism, Harry Tupan looked as impressed as he was struck by the wide variety of works that fit the theme. Not only in the hall, but especially in the warehouses there was much to your taste. And perhaps to his bad surprise, he received almost a carte blanche from Eugene Petrova, deputy director of the St. Petersburg Museum. "You get the best from us," she promised.

Soviet myth, socialist realism of 1932-1960

Here is what the exhibition at the Drenz Museum wants to show: the struggle of painters with compulsory prevailing themes, the variety of works, styles at a time when it was necessary to meet the requirements of higher standards. Malevich threw his black sections, circles and crosses, painted faceless or expressionless people in the backyard, or made portraits. Deyneka painted a farm farmer on a bicycle in a beautiful rolling landscape or a brazen woman in front of a mirror that was meant to portray American immorality. Samocchalov put a half-naked athlete on a canvas washed "After Running," or an employee of a woman with a jackhammer or a woman in a football shirt, a painting that was later called the Mona Lisa of the Soviet Union at a Paris exhibition. Through detours such as sports and work, the artists brought some erotica to the Soviet man.

The artwork had to show that life in the Soviet Union was good and much better. Not reality, but reality as it should be shown. The criticism was not subject, the motto - the propaganda of an ideal Soviet state.

Walking through the beautiful exhibition space of the Drenz Museum, the conflicting feelings make your master aware of: admiring the often beautiful and upscale painted works and feeling anxious about the contents of many canvases. We know from many accounts of what happened at that time under Stalin's "great terror". Artists hid or were exiled to Siberia. When asked who you love more than "Stalin or your parents," you don't have to answer "your parents": you were no longer sure of your life. And here in Assen hang works in which Stalin and Lenin are worshiped in all glory, up to four by seven meters in size.

It's a special but bizarre exhibit at the Drenz Museum, where the viewer swallows all this multiplied reality for a moment. As an antidote, the Asser Museum has a small exhibit in several upper rooms, entitled "Together and One. Living in Russia from 1900 to the Present, "which shows the fate of the ordinary Russian family over the last century. What does the Russian remember about the reality experienced in the family? Parents and sons died as a result of war, through their own repression. Mothers they were left alone with their children and hardly recognized their loved ones when they returned from the camps, from the battlefields.

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