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Soviet things that talk
Yulia Karpova

‘fulfilling or amplifying the sensory capacities of the human organism’.18 The curtailment of the NEP in the latter half of the 1920s and the launch of a full-scale industrialisation campaign was followed by the restriction of such cultural policies and a ban on independent artistic movements, so these comradely objects did not reach a mass audience through mass production as the productivists had planned. However, what happened to productivism after Stalin’s death? In the late 1950s Soviet cultural policies softened and opened, though only moderately, to international

in Comradely objects
Yulia Karpova

its revolutionary development’8 – that is, to visualise the state’s promises by depicting recognisable life forms in the desired manner. Formally, socialist realism remained the only permitted artistic method until perestroika. However, with the changes in cultural policies after Stalin, including the rise of decorative art and the emergence of the design profession, the notion of socialist realism could not remain the same. To fulfil the modern socialist material culture, the notion of socialist realism had to be updated. What follows is an overview of theoretical

in Comradely objects
Yulia Karpova

artist did not want a middle-class status – officially still non-existent in Soviet society – but rather yearned to enter the intelligentsia and take part in its traditional role as an educated sub-community cultivating critical attitudes in society. While not openly criticising the Soviet system and not taking the dissident path, decorative artists in the Brezhnev era navigated the muddy waters of late socialist cultural policy in order to make a difference in Soviet aesthetics and consumer culture through their mastery of materials. They attempted to make their

in Comradely objects