London : Revolution (Russian Art 1917 – 1932) Feb 2017

From RA website ……..

One hundred years on from the Russian Revolution, this powerful exhibition explores one of the most momentous periods in modern world history through the lens of its groundbreaking art.
Renowned artists including Kandinsky, Malevich, Chagall and Rodchenko were among those to live through the fateful events of 1917, which ended centuries of Tsarist rule and shook Russian society to its foundations.
Amidst the tumult, the arts thrived as debates swirled over what form a new “people’s” art should take. But the optimism was not to last: by the end of 1932, Stalin’s brutal suppression had drawn the curtain down on creative freedom.
Taking inspiration from a remarkable exhibition shown in Russia just before Stalin’s clampdown, we will mark the historic centenary by focusing on the 15-year period between 1917 and 1932 when possibilities initially seemed limitless and Russian art flourished across every medium.
This far-ranging exhibition will – for the first time – survey the entire artistic landscape of post-Revolutionary Russia, encompassing Kandinsky’s boldly innovative compositions, the dynamic abstractions of Malevich and the Suprematists, and the emergence of Socialist Realism, which would come to define Communist art as the only style accepted by the regime.
We will also include photography, sculpture, filmmaking by pioneers such as Eisenstein, and evocative propaganda posters from what was a golden era for graphic design. The human experience will be brought to life with a full-scale recreation of an apartment designed for communal living, and with everyday objects ranging from ration coupons and textiles to brilliantly original Soviet porcelain.
Revolutionary in their own right, together these works capture both the idealistic aspirations and the harsh reality of the Revolution and its aftermath. Royal Academy


This exhibition is more of a time capsule to the period of art where Russians started to be innovative and the State pushed them down and along patriotic and ideological lines. The state is your guardian, communism is good. In fact a pictorial propaganda machine.
The materials used in some works are definitely NOT standing the test of time. It was obvious that the artists in many cases had to use poor grade materials and the end result is substantial degradation in some pieces, notable Malevich’s “Black Square”.
There is a wide range of art and styles across the time span of this exhibition.
I was especially drawn to the portraits by Petrov-Vodkin, his self-portrait especially. His short dapping strokes of colour are reminiscent of those of Cezanne, whom must have been an influence on him.

Wassily Kandinsky
The blue bow (crest)
Oil on Canvas,
St Petersburg Museum

Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin, Fantasy, 1925.
Oil on canvas. 50 x 64.5 cm. State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg
Photo © 2016, State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg.

Isaak Brodsky, V.I.Lenin and Manifestation, 1919.
Oil on canvas. 90 x 135 cm. The State Historical Museum Photo © Provided with assistance from the State Museum and Exhibition Center ROSIZO

Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin, Self-portrait, 1918. Oil on canvas

Kazimir Malevich
Peasants 1930
Oil on canvas

Accessed 22 Feb 2017