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Socialist Realism was and remains an exceptional phenomenon in twentieth century art. It bore the challenge of promoting realist figuration on a scale without parallel in the rest of the world, employing the talents of thousands of artists over decades and spreading over an immense and varied empire. By glorifying the social role of art, affirming the primary value of content as opposed to form and restoring the central role of traditional practices, socialist Realism was the declared opponent of the modern movement, and in fact represented the only completely alternative artistic system.
Socialist Realism. Soviet painting 1920-1970 is the most exhaustive exhibition on Soviet realist painting ever shown outside Russia and follows the movement’s development over fifty years through a selection of works from the country’s leading museums.
Created by the great Russian artists (Deineka, Malevic, Adlivankin, Laktionov, Plastov, Brodskij, Korzhev) the works present a multiplicity of questions, themes and formal approaches to art spanning from the last phases of the civil war to the beginnings of the Brezhnev era, stopping at the early 1970s when trends in official Soviet art took on varied and inconsistent directions such that the cultural supremacy of the socialist-realist current faded definitively.
A non monolithic view emerges, in which the movement does not originate exclusively as the product of totalitarian control and political pressures but as an evolving organism that reflected internal issues and echoed the great historic events of the twentieth century.
Texts by John E. Bowlt, Evgenij Dobrenko, Faina Balachovskaja, Zelfira Tregulova, Nicoletta Misler, Evgenija Petrova, Vladimir Lenjašin, Alessandro De Magistris, Christina Kiaer, Svetlana Boym, Gian Piero Piretto, Matthew Bown, Ekaterina Degot, Aleksandr Evangeli, Vitalij Komar, Mark Gisbourne, Sarah Wilson.
Interview to Gelij Koržev by Zoja Katašinskaja.