• 'Cinema Eye' - Portrait of cameraman Mikhail Kaufmann, after 1924

    Eleazar Langman (1895-1940) / From files of Mikhail Kaufman (1897-1980) / 35 mm negative / gelatin silver print


  • Portrait of a Young Man and a Girl, 1929

    El Lissitzky (1890–1941) / working photo for the model of the poster 'Russische Ausstellung. 1929' / print from two negatives / gelatin bromine and silver print

  • Skyscraper, 1925-1926

    El Lissitzky (1890–1941) / photomontage / print from three negatives / gelatin bromine and silver print

  • Actress (Alisa Koonen as Phaedra [?]) in a headdress designed by Alexander Vesnin, 1921

    Unknown author / From the files of Moscow Camera Theatre / glass negative / gelatin silver print / negative retouching

  • Russian Ballet: Spanish Dance, performed by Kasian Goleizovsky (1892-1970) and Tatiana Kutasova (1906-1982), 1923-1926

    Nikolay Svishchov-Paola (1874-1964) / glass negative 4 x 5 cm / bromoil

  • A performance of propaganda theatre 'The Blue Blouse', 1926

    V. Usov, Moscow / Oratorio 'Five-Years' dedicated to 5 years of The Blue Blouse movement. Directed by Yaroslav Rodionov, designed by Nina Samoilova / glass negative 4 x 5 cm / gelatin silver print / negative retouching

  • On Guard, 1935

    Yakov Khalip (1908–1987) / published in the magazine 'SSSR na stroyke' ('USSR in Construction'), No. 1, 1937 / 35 mm negative / gelatin bromine and silver print / From the collection of Grigory Boltyansky (1885–1953)

Photography and History in the USSR 1920-1940

100 Masterpieces from the RGALI collection

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.

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