The Russian Revolution in 1917 led to the downfall of the Tsarist aristocratic regime and the rise of a communist dictatorship which would go on to last until the late 1980’s. This rise in socialist thinking came alongside the rise of avant garde art and therefore in Russia the two schools were intertwined as a new Russian state was born. The Russian revolution influenced many artists as their art begun to be censored by the State, and therefore what emerged was a mix of experimental painting and political sloganeering. The Royal Academy of Arts, on the centenary of the Russian revolution have collated some of the best and strangest of this new Russian state, part abstract expressionism and part political propaganda, this exhibition is a must see for any interested in 20th century art and history alike.
The Royal Academy – 150
The Royal Academy of Arts is based in Burlington House in the Piccadilly area of London. It has been standing for 249 years and is one of the best places to find both modern and classical art. It was created by King George III in 1768 to promote the enjoyment, education and creation of art. Originally housed in a small space in the Pall Mall district, the Royal Academy transferred venues to Burlington House a hundred years later after several temporary set ups in venues such as Somerset House. Nowadays, the Royal Academy is home to thousands of pieces from many notable artists whilst also having artists enrol in programs through the school. Much of the academy’s money comes from temporary loans to such institutions as the Tate Modern and the Tate Britain as well as private funding and the money from visitors to the exhibitions it holds.
Notable works at the Revolutionary Russian Art exhibit
One of the exhibitions main draws is that some of its artists are relatively obscure and give a great view into the thinking of artists of the time in question. One of the most important artists of this period was Vladimir Tatlin who was a founding thinker in the Constructivist art movement. This was the idea that art was supposed to be of use as a social purpose, not just to view. The artists involved in this movement would use their art as informative propaganda material for the masses, often making posters for festivals and ceremonies. The exhibition also holds one of Tatlin’s Constructivist Gliders, a hang glider made of steamed, bent ash and fabric. This was supposed to be of use to the workers as a tool for transport but also resembles a bat or a dragon fly like machine. The exhibition also holds propaganda film by the likes of influential film director Sergei Eisenstein. October 1917 was made for the ten year anniversary of the revolution, in which the events leading to the revolution were recreated for the screen. The box of memories at the end of the exhibition also shows the real side of the dictatorship, with images of the murdered, incarcerated and starving of the Soviet era.