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Yulia Karpova

individuality in the world of uniform mass production and consumption, the fate of traditional crafts in an industrial age, the role of diverse folk motifs in Soviet cultural internationalism and the meaning of sincerity and emotional connection in a socialist society guided by Party dogmas. Working within the framework of Soviet institutions and policy guidelines, decorative artists and critics of the 1960s advocated for the personal freedom of artists and of ordinary people without explicitly resorting to the language of human rights and civil society.80 Simultaneously, the

in Comradely objects
Open Access (free)
Design and material culture in Soviet Russia, 1960s–80s
Author: Yulia Karpova

The major part of this book project was funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement No. 700913.

This book is about two distinct but related professional cultures in late Soviet Russia that were concerned with material objects: industrial design and decorative art. The Russian avant-garde of the 1920s is broadly recognised to have been Russia’s first truly original contribution to world culture. In contrast, Soviet design of the post-war period is often dismissed as hackwork and plagiarism that resulted in a shabby world of commodities. This book identifies the second historical attempt at creating a powerful alternative to capitalist commodities in the Cold War era. It offers a new perspective on the history of Soviet material culture by focusing on the notion of the ‘comradely object’ as an agent of progressive social relations that state-sponsored Soviet design inherited from the avant-garde. It introduces a shared history of domestic objects, handmade as well as machine-made, mass-produced as well as unique, utilitarian as well as challenging the conventional notion of utility. Situated at the intersection of intellectual history, social history and material culture studies, this book elucidates the complexities and contradictions of Soviet design that echoed international tendencies of the late twentieth century. The book is addressed to design historians, art historians, scholars of material culture, historians of Russia and the USSR, as well as museum and gallery curators, artists and designers, and the broader public interested in modern aesthetics, art and design, and/or the legacy of socialist regimes.

Open Access (free)
Janet Wolff

of the twentieth century. But he is best known, in his post-adventurer life, as a diplomat and human rights worker. He helped negotiate Norway’s independence from Sweden in 1905, and served as his country’s representative in London in the following three years. In 1920, he was appointed by the Council of the League of Nations to investigate the plight of remaining prisoners of war after the 1914–18 war, many of them in Russia. By the summer of 1922, about 430,000 prisoners had been repatriated. That same year, Nansen was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his work

in Austerity baby
Yulia Karpova

the clear conceptualisation of artistic work in industry proved to be a key question of the post-Stalin aesthetic regime of arts. The philosopher (and future human rights activist) Boris Shragin immediately responded to the Matsa–Gorpenko debate, arguing that aesthetic theory in general tends to fall behind the development of technology and material culture and could not keep up with the rapid changes of recent decades. The result, he argued, was a paradoxical situation: his colleagues could admire machines and practical household objects as human beings, but they

in Comradely objects