Friday, 14 February 2014

Pioneers of Propaganda – The Art of Soviet Cinema

There is no denying that the 1920s was something of a golden era for Russian cinema and, whilst an entire generation was taught to be wary of the great Soviet propaganda machine, there was irrefutable cinematic beauty in classics such as Dziga Vertov's ‘Man with the Movie Camera’ or the frenzied energy of Sergei Eisenstein's ‘Battleship Potemkin’.

Child of the Market (poster by the Stenberg brothers)

Alongside these innovative and forward-thinking films, an entire industry grew in order to publicise cinematic releases and ensure that the Russian public revelled in the new and exciting world of film. All of this was done in uniquely Soviet style and the posters that were at the forefront of this marketing strategy also heralded a new era in graphic design. Many of these pieces are now considered works of art in themselves and this fact is currently being celebrated by the GRAD (Gallery for Russian Arts & Design) in London.

Battleship Potemkin (Sergei Eisenstein, USSR, 1925). Poster by the Stenberg brothers

Stenberg brothers' sketch for The Eyes of Love (1923)

Pioneers of this industry such as the Brothers Georgii and Vladimir Sternberg, Yakov Ruklevsky and Nikolai Pusakov, began to implement the techniques of cinema into their advertisements and promotional posters. This gave the final images a certain surreal quality and provided a unique style of graphic design that has now become somewhat iconic.

The gallery will run the exhibition until the end of March 2014 in a unique opportunity to see some rare and thoroughly archetypal posters of that era. However, if you are not able to make it to the exhibition, then why not take a look at the fantastic range of prints available at PosterLounge and see if you can find your very own piece of Soviet artwork celebrating the roaring twenties – hammer and sickle style.

Stenberg brothers sketch for The Son of the Hovel (c. 1927)

Stenberg brothers sketch for what is probably Victor Karin Ingmarsdotter (Sweden, 1920)

Man with a Movie Camera (Dziga Vertov, USSR, 1929). Poster by the Stenberg brothers

The Big Sorrow of a Small Woman. Poster by the Stenberg brothers

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