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.
cannot renounce the idealistic aspirations of those times.’ It was Henry’s uncle, Heinrich Simon, who was actively involved in the 1848 revolutions, serving as a deputy in the Frankfurt Parliament, convened to present demands for a democratic constitution. The following year, as members of the assembly gradually left, or were recalled by their states, Heinrich remained as a member of the smaller but more radical Rump Parliament, which met in Stuttgart. In June 1849, military force was employed to prevent a meeting; the Houses and barns [ 151 ] ninety-nine remaining
This approach recalls Nina Iaglova’s vision of applied art as essentially representational, izobrazitel’noe’. Unlike utilitarian everyday objects, which all share the same expressive meanings based on their type (e.g. cars express forwardness), each work of applied art reflects the individuality of its creator and his or her ‘spiritual constitution’ and life-perception. Most importantly, for Gorpenko, the utilitarian function in works of applied art changes by acquiring ‘decorative meaning’ due to their strong ‘semantic and emotional charge’. Utilitarian objects, on
Light apparatus was frequently housed with X-ray equipment, including at the London Hospital. See G. Allpress Simmons, ‘ The Constitution and Organization of the X-Ray Department of a General Hospital ’, BMJ , 27 August 1910, pp. 535–7; and Anne Kinloch Jamieson, ‘ More than Meets the Eye: Revealing the Therapeutic Potential of Light, 1896–1910 ’, Social History of Medicine , 26
Revolution, joining the chorus of festivities organised all over the country in 1967. The editorial, appropriately entitled ‘Glory to the 50th Anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution’, explained that they wanted to ‘give the floor to the wordless yet eloquent witnesses to our history, the products of the creative spirit of artists’.1 The following pages contained no text, only the images of the ‘witnesses’: monuments to the Soviet Constitution, Karl Marx and Jean-Paul Marat, built in 1918–19 in Moscow according to the Lenin Plan of Monumental Propaganda; a