Wednesday 10 October, 7.00pm


Join the senior students of Hampton Court House for an energising evening exploringtwentieth century Russian art. Led by art historian and lecturer Andrew Spira, the students will weave together the story of time and memory in art – how revolution, resistance and propaganda created new images and new styles. 

These images reflected the revolutionary attitudes of society at the time. Artists such as Kazimir Malevich developed a new, abstract style called “suprematism”, playing with enigmatic shapes on plain white backgrounds. Meanwhile, the painter Aleksandr Rodchenko experimented with new media such as photography and graphic design – an industrial art that seemed to capture the proletarian spirit of the age. 

By 1921, five artists presented an exhibition in Moscow entitled “5x5=25” that celebrated (in their words) the death of art.

Of course traditional styles never died, but, in Russia’s newly communist workers’ society, art was put to work as propaganda: triumphant posters commemorated the heroes of communism and depicted ordinary people and their industries as Olympian heroes. Petrov-Vodkin’s “Fantasy” (above) harked back to Russia’s Orthodox past with its giant, red prancing horse an almost religious ecstasy of Marxist iconography.