Wednesday, 1 August 2007

USSR Posters

So looking for Marie Knight tracks on t'interweb (the latest soul singer to become object of my aural affections) I somehow ended up finding this spectacular collection of USSR propaganda posters. No, the connection isn't immediately apparent to me either. They are all brilliant and I intend to share some of them with you, maybe posting up a couple each week over the next few months as a kind of medium term project. They have translated tags, some of which I am unhappy about, so those of you who have some Russian can chip in and help out where necessary. De Vertalerin, that means you. Any of my other regular readers who read some Russian, now is the time to stand up and make yourselves known to the authorities.

First up, from 1917: Social revolutionary's party. You will find your rights in the struggle. I love the breaking of the chains here, the restrained colours, the strong visual diagonal. Note, in the background, the comfortable traditional housing acting as counterpoint to flourishing industry.


Moving on to 1919, a Civil War poster: Onwards, in defence of the Urals!


This is visually very similar to posters produced by all belligerents in WWI, perhaps unsurprisingly.

Now this is labelled 1919, a May Day poster: Workers have nothing to lose but their chains

But given the redness of China, I find this odd. On the other hand, artistically and iconographically, this poster fits right in with the early years, whereas the posters from the late 40s and 50s are stylistically very different. It seems unlikely that this can be post-1949. Again, like the first poster, the idea of global struggle is key, and I rather like the night sky, though I much prefer the way the text is arranged on the first one. (I don't know the technical terminology for things like that, doubtless CB will enlighten me).

Anyway, tell me what you think.

7 comments:

TrentToffee said...

I like em. Perhaps you could post up the web link. I'd like to print a few off and hang them up around the office. The old ones - without pictures of Lenin or uncle Joe - are the best.

codazzo said...

there's a nice collection of (not only russian) propaganda posters here: http://www.keithball.net.nyud.net:8080/dod/

ursus arctos said...

Quite good; they don't reach the heights of the Constructivists (what does?), but infinitely better than what followed once the dead hand of Socialist Realism had the pen and brush in its iron grip.

[Metaphor blocker temporarily disabled, it seems.]

Might the redness of southeastern China be indicative of an early hope that Sun Yat Sen's Nationalists would follow a more revolutionary line than they ultimately did? I would think that wouldn't have been much of a stretch from the perspective of the late teens.

Spangly Princess said...

TT, sadly they're not directly from a website but were found via Soulseek, the P2P host.

Ursus, good call on Sun Yat Sen. It might be the red of revolution as much as the red of socialism. The artistic trajectory over the following 30-40 years is quite interesting: the 20s and early 30s are definitely a high, before the official implementation of socialist realism, but there are some better pieces from the Great Patriotic War. before we get to those there are a few Constructivist pieces too, but you'll all have to wait till I get home for those (Aug 21)

Any major dude with half a heart said...

I think you need this MP3 to soundtrack your poster collection, Spangly:

http://www.zshare.net/audio/3063853d814fa1/

Spangly Princess said...

good call on the music, I like. I have somewhere also the mp3 of the Red Army Choir singing Bella Ciao, which would be a good option.

Antonio G said...

I'm pretty sure the dark red parts of the map represent areas in which delegations present at the first meeting of the Third International were active. The poster is dated 1 May; the conference was held eight weeks earlier, which would have given them time to design and print this up.