In the Soviet Union during the 1920s, the cinema was the centre of both culture and political indoctrination. GRAD gallery presents stunning film posters from this “golden age” of Soviet film. It’s a rare chance to see these ephemeral artworks in their original form alongside the films that inspired them.
The 1920s were a highly inventive and experimental period for art and graphic design in the Soviet Union, as can be seen in the works of the Constructivists, for example. The posters on display present bold, colourful geometric forms and deploy eye-catching, radical compositions, distorted perspectives and typography to great effect. Like the posters, the films are shot with the same eye towards powerful composition. This is often used to highlight the emotional states of the characters, as in the Three Million Case, in which a comical thief confronts a wealthy banker to both comic and sinister effect. The juxtaposition of the film clips shown alongside their corresponding poster brings the media to life to great effect, producing powerful and striking images.
The Soviet Government invested heavily in silent film, as it was seen as a propaganda tool with which to indoctrinate the largely illiterate masses, resulting in such heroic films as October and Battleship Potemkin. Sovkino, a governmental agency that subsidised the Soviet film industry, commissioned the production of film posters through Reklam Film, which employed Yakov Ruklevsky as chief designer and included such artists as Georgii and Vladimir Stenberg and Aleksandr Naumov, each of whom honed the distinctive, graphically bold style of these film posters.
In addition to the exhibition, there will be a series of screenings and talks held at GRAD Gallery. Check the website for more information and times on these events.
Kino/Film continues at GRAD Gallery, 3-4a Little Portland Street, London W1W 7JB until 29 March. Admission is free.