Dimitri Shostakovich The Language of Repression and Defiance
Shostakovich is forced to compose in a style that
will save his life and keep him from prison or worse.
Instead of exploration into the new directions in
music, Shostakovich must revert to older styles and
conceal his rebellion deep within the music.
Amid the conflicting pressures of official requirements, the mass suffering of his fellow country men, and his personal ideals of humanitarianism and public service, Shostakovich succeeded in forging a musical language of colossal emotional power.
His work was described as … “ derivative, trashy, empty and second-hand” “ brutally hammering…and monotonous” “ coarse, primitive, vulgar” “ (His) music quacks, grunts and growls.”
Russian Avant-Garde An umbrella term to define the wave of modernist art that flourished in Russian between 1890-1930. Includes suprematism, contructivism, and futurism. Between 1917 and 1932, the avant-garde clashed with the state-sponsored direction of Socialist Realism.
Marc Chagall The Wedding 1950
Marc Chagall I and the Village 1911
Propaganda Constructivists were heavily involved with the Bolshevik public information campaign (1920). These artists took an artistic outlook aimed to encompass cognitive, material activity, and the whole of spirituality of mankind.
Suprematism An art movement focused on fundamental geometric forms, 1915-16
Kazimir Malevich Black Square 1915
Kazimir Malevich Black Circle 1915
Kazimir Malevich White on White 1918
Kazimir Malevich Supremus No. 58 1916
Wassily Kandinsky On White II 1923
Constructivism An artistic and architectural movement in Russia from 1919 to 1934. Dismissed as “pure” art versus art used as an instrument for social purposes. Constructivism was replaced by Socialist Realism. Constructivists believed that art should accompany man through all parts of life, not just art for arts sake.
Vladimir Tatlin Tatlin’s Tower 1919 Proposed Monument to the Third International
Productivism Art movement founded by a group of Constructivists who believed that art should have a practical, socially useful role as a facet of industrial production.
1929. Shostakovich , Meyerhold, Mayakovsky and Rodchenko rehearsing Mayakovsky's play
Alexander Rodchenko Film Poster, 1926
Alexander Rodchenko An Objectless Composition 1915
Alexander Rodchenko Stairway, 1930
Rodchenko’s work was abstract to the point of non-figurative, but during the 1930’s, the official party guidelines governing artistic practice forced him to change. Although he concentrated on sports photography and the like, Rodchenko was expelled in 1931 for “formalism.”