SEE USSR – Russian propaganda posters exhibition
See USSR deals with the flipside of Russian propaganda, showing a very different side to the country than we have accepted. This is the Soviet Union at rest and at play: a country of leisure, comfort and luxury – the USSR through the looking glass. These images contradict the picture normally conjured up by the Western mind, transforming the communist land into a tourist haven, and showcasing pre-war Soviet Union as an earthly paradise. Refuting the widespread belief that Stalin’s Soviet Union was a country almost completely closed to foreigners, See USSR examines the advertising Intourist, the organization responsible for foreign tourism in the USSR, created in 1930s. Widening the propaganda poster’s usual remit, these dramatic images, many in the Art Deco style, were implemented not to educate the Bolshevik masses, but extended to foreigners in an attempt to draw in funds desperately needed for industrialisation. Demonstrating the cultural bureaucracy’s intent to restrict art to function as propaganda above all else, these compelling and beautiful graphic artworks take their place in the great legacy of Russia’s artistic history.
The title references a slogan from one of a range of Soviet Era posters, exhibited in London for the first time, together with magazines, ephemera from the tourism initiative and textiles designed for the internal propaganda . See USSR is co-curated by Irina Nikiforova, The State Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts , Moscow , Russia.
Complementing these unique, historical artworks, the gallery has also commissioned model-maker Henry Milner to reconstruct the eponymous See USSR poster, designed by Nikolay Zhukov in 1930.1 This lost artwork will be published by Curwen Press and be made available as a limited edition print by the gallery.
Based in Fitzrovia, this newly opened not -for-profit gallery GRAD wishes to broaden international understanding of the extraordinarily diverse and vibrant body of material produced in Russia since the early Twentieth century . The gallery will focus on showing the best of this sometimes neglected domain in a series of enlightening and inspiring exhibitions. GRAD has established connections with major museums in Russia, British institutions such as The Courtauld Institute of Art and close links with celebrated artists of the period, to introduce this fascinating realm of work and to give a platform to artists who are lesser known in Western Europe.
GRAD is privileged to display both spectacular Russian collections loaned from national and private collections in Russia and further afield, together with specifically commissioned pieces. The gallery rests on a strong scholarly foundation, each exhibition being accompanied by a programme of events, with the aim to raise critical awareness of Russian art. The gallery will open with a seminar led by speakers of academic and curatorial eminence in the field. GRAD will also produce a range of publications to accompany their programme, sold alongside books, various artworks and gifts in their on-site shop. All sales proceeds will support the further development of GRAD.
GRAD: Gallery for Russian Arts and Design