Soviet art and architecture on show at Barcelona’s Caixafòrum

‘Construir la Revolució. Art i arquitectura a Rússia, 1915-1935’ (‘Building the Revolution. Art and architecture in Russia, 1915-1935’) will run until April 17th. The exhibition focuses on the first Soviet art during the Russian Revolution, Lenin and the first Stalin period.

CNA / Elisenda Rosanas / F. Javier Rodríguez

March 16, 2011 07:13 PM

Barcelona (ACN). Geometric shapes and straight lines were the main features of Soviet art. The needs of a country in an era of great change made a dialogue between art and architecture necessary. In this sense, artists and architects coordinated their work in order to create the specific style on show at the Caixafòrum art centre in Barcelona. It will be open until the 17th of April. The exhibition, which includes works by Aleksander Ródtxenki, Kassimir Malévitx and Le Corbusier aims to show how important those artists were in the construction of the Socialist State.

Liubov Popova, Aleksander Ródtxenko, Kassimir Màlevit, Moissei Guínzburg are some of the Russian artists that started their career in the early years of the 20th century. They created a new artistic style based on geometric shapes and plain works. In addition, they constituted an art form far from objectivity that never represented real world images but created a new way of expression, related to the social changes taking place in Russia in 1915. Other architects such as Le Corbusier and Mendelssohn are also included in the exhibition.

MaryAnne Stevens, the exhibition’s commissioner explained that Soviet avant-garde art was also interesting in the field of sculpture as artists wanted to experience new ways of expression. Stevens said that for this reason, buildings at the time were characterised by lines, plain floors, longitudinal windows and a lack of decoration that reflected the needs of the new Russian society, immersed in industrialisation. For such a reason new buildings such as common houses, clubs and sports facilities for the proletariat were required.

Richard Pare compares the past and the present

The exhibition also aims to compare the differences between the architecture and the buildings of those years and the current use being made of them. Through Richard Pare’s photographs one can compare the degrading evolution of these buildings thanks to the exhaustive work carried out between 1992 and 2010 on the present state of these buildings. 

‘Construir la revolució’ (‘Building the Revolution. Art and architecture in Russia, 1915-1935’) is the most complete revision ever shown on Russian avant-garde art and architecture. Sxússev’s State Museum of Architecture in Moscow has contributed with 230 works with their corresponding photographs from the thirties along with drawings, models and paintings from the Costakis Collection of the Tessalonica State Museum of Contemporary Art.

The exhibition is an initiative from the Royal Academy of Arts of London in collaboration with ‘La Caixa’ and Any Dual 2011, a year-long project involving Russia and Spain in which both countries are preparing respective cultural exhibitions and performances. ‘Construir la revolució’ is in Barcelona until April 17th before moving on to Madrid and London.