Art historians argue that in the 1920s, ideologists in the USSR paid special attention to mass song, which they viewed as the most important tool for transforming the human psyche by means of music. The social significance of the song predetermined the fact that the most talented artistic forces were required to design the musical editions of those years.

The strictly delineated political framework of the cultural space in a totalitarian state forced the “art generals” to turn to innovators - futurists and constructivists, who, as you know, adopted a new “socialist religion”, but constantly frightened the authorities with their rebellious art form.

The futuristic and constructivist design of printed products was based on the deliberate use of the unexpected, which gave additional expressiveness to the works. At the same time, various typographic fonts were often used creatively. The covers were given, as it were, a touch of handicraft and handicraft. These features, destroying the usual canons, determined the entire aesthetic program of the futurists and constructivists and created the image of artistic freedom, impromptu, play.

Ascetic rationalism, simple geometric forms then made it possible for the famous book designers - constructivists El Lissitzky (1890-1941), A. Rodchenko (1891-1956), S. Telingater (1903-1969) and others to speak the language of their time, even to be ahead of it ...

The talented artists Y. Shaporin, B. Mosolov, the popular avant-garde composer N. Roslavets, P. Miturich gained fame in the decoration of specific sheet music of those years.

The collection of covers for musical editions of the twenties of the twentieth century presented at the exhibition gives a vivid picture of the work of book artists, who, in conditions of obvious lack of freedom, actively continued to search for their own paths in graphic art. At the same time, it is important to emphasize that among the constructivist book illustrators there was practically not a single master, whose work in the subsequent period would not be questioned, forgotten or prohibited.

Miniature posters, which, in essence, are the exhibited covers, perfectly convey the atmosphere of those years when "Poor Demyan's agitation" was sung in all cities and towns, when categorical anti-religious propaganda was gaining momentum (songs "About the clerk", "Pop promulgated") , and young people were actively processed by pro-communist slogans ("Drum", "Stroyka", "Beat with the cooperation of private traders"). For the deceased leader of the revolution, the first wooden mausoleum had already been cobbled together, which immediately turned into a symbol of the new era, often depicted with appropriate propaganda purposes.

Attention is drawn to the constructivist covers of B. Titov "March of the Workers' Workers" (1924), M. Loginov's "Song of the Mowers" - from the peasant songs of the rebellious Tambov province, V. Mamlin "To the Village Boys" (1928), a futuristic composition for the cover of music songs by Yu. Milyutin "Fish riot" and a magnificent drawing by B. Shergin for "The Tale of the Wonderful Miracle" (1926).

In general, the exhibits of the exhibition allow the visitor to get acquainted with unexpected avant-garde artifacts of a long bygone era and to visualize the intensity of the struggle between various artistic trends in the graphic art of the twenties of the twentieth century.


Boris Golender