Red. Art and Utopia in the land of the Soviets

Georgi Roublev, Portrait de J.V. Staline 1935, 152x152 cm Moscou, Galerie nationale Tretyakov

Georgi Roublev, Portrait de J.V. Staline 1935, 152x152 cm Moscou, Galerie nationale Tretyakov

#PARIS The October 1917 revolution led to a disruption of the social order, the repercussions of which were decisive in terms of artistic creativity. Many artists then became involved in the communist cause and participated in the construction of the new society through their works.

Until July 1st, the Grand Palais proposes in a vast two-storey exhibition, to re-read this artistic period abounding in its tensions and reversals, where the plastic innovations and inseparable ideological constraints of this period raise the question of a possible politicization of the arts.

The first rooms highlight the debates that animate the Soviet artistic scene in the aftermath of the revolution until the mid-1920s, the scenography is based on plays by Rodchenko, Popova or Maiakovski but this artistic utopia of fusion of art will very quickly be thwarted by an increasing hostility of the Bolshevik power that does not taste very much like advant-guards, preferring to favour an “understandable art of the masses”.

From 1929 and the takeover of Stalin, repression fell on the “art of the left” and a group of modernist artists played a central role in defining the pictorial foundations of socialist realism, a proposal for monumental paintings that celebrated idealized heroes.

Finally, the exhibition ends with a selection of works that bear witness to the advent of realistic socialist dogma that is completely subordinated to ideology, artists and their arts drown in a state kitsch.


Red, Art and Utopia in Soviet countries

National Galleries of the Grand Palais

Entrance Clémenceau

3 Avenue du Général Eisenhower,

75008 Paris

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