In connection with North Netherlands / Russia 2013, Noorderlicht Photo Gallery will be showing an exhibition of absolute masterpieces from the Soviet Avant Garde in the 1920s and socialist realism under Stalin in the years thereafter. Together they comprehend the history of Russia from a photographic perspective during one of its most dramatic periods: from avant garde experiments with collage and photomontage to suffocating but unparalleled images for the purposes of propaganda. The works from the Russian State Archive of Literature and Art in Moscow (RGALI) are unique and never before seen in The Netherlands.
El Lissitzky, Alexander Rodchenko, László Moholy-Nagy and Boris Ignatovich are some of the important names that are represented in the exhibition. Supplemented by portraits of the central figures in the Russian Avant Garde, the works tell the story of the unprecedented blossoming in art, music and literature after the Revolution. Artists in Russia and around the world had rallied massively behind the revolutionary ideals, and now, with heart and soul, set about their realization.
The movement's decline proved to be as dramatic as its rise and bloom. After the death of Lenin in 1924 and the assumption of power by Stalin, the movement faced a very severe reaction which ultimately led to the imposition of a politically sanctioned programme: socialistic realism. By the 1930s it was therefore particularly the massiveness and mechanical noise that accompanied the construction of the military and industrial complex in the Soviet Union that reverberated through photography.
RGALI, the Russian State Archive of Literature and Art in Moscow, was established in 1941. Today the institution is the largest archive with regard to documents from the history of Russian and Soviet literature, music, theatre, film and visual art. A large part of the archive is comprised of personal bequests.
The exhibition is in cooperation with
Russian Federal Archival Agency
Russian State Archive of Literature and Art
ROSIZO, State Center for Museums and Exhibitions of the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation
Iris Art Foundation
Garage Center for Contemporary Culture
North Netherlands / Russia 2013 Foundation
Curators Evgeny Berezner, Irina Chmyreva, Natalia Tarasova / Working group Vladimir Sergienko, Maria Terekhova
- Photography and History in the USSR, 1920-1940
- 100 Masterpieces from the collection at RGALI
- 25 May - 30 June
- Noorderlicht Photogallery
- Akerkhof 12, 9711 JB Groningen
- The Netherlands
- Opening hours Wed – Sun, noon – 6 pm
The Noorderlicht Photogallery is a permanent exhibition space for photography that is not afraid to cross boundaries, be they national or genre, to tell its story. Through the gallery Noorderlicht seeks to offer a platform for young local talent, but also bring idiosyncratic masters from The Netherlands and other countries to the attention of a wider audience. Moreover, the gallery functions as a laboratory for the annual photo festivals. But Noorderlicht does more. Through its publications, master classes, discussions, lectures and provision of photography commissions, Noorderlicht stimulates the development of photography, particularly documentary. Rooted in the northern Netherlands, Noorderlicht casts its gaze across the whole world, with an eye for social themes and visual beauty.