The Body as a Machine in the Works of Soviet Artists of the 1920s and 30s

Author: Beata Bigaj-Zwonek
Institution: Jesuit University Ignatianum in Kraków
Year of publication: 2019
Source: Show
Pages: 138-150
DOI Address:
PDF: kie/126/kie12609.pdf

The article discusses the work of artists active in the 1920s and 1930s in Russia,2 the form and content of which links them with the idea of man-machine, which grew in popularity in the age of heightened industrial development and system changes in the 20th century. The article seeks to present the influence of official guidelines (including cultural and educational policies) and technological change on imagery, and, essentially, to point up the relationship between politics and the form and content of the art. An overview of artists working notably in Russia focuses on that period of their oeuvre that drew overtly on new solutions in visual arts. These artists are less known in Poland nowadays as they were either artistically enmeshed in Socialist Realism down the line or had a role in sanctioning it. The paper further dwells on the relationship between the avant-garde, modern art and engaged art at the early stages of forming the new political system. It also discusses problems such as: changes in art prompted by new ways of artistic practice; artist’s mutual inspirations; the application of imagery types that had formed earlier (especially when artistic activity had its footing in similar objectives); exemplifications of artists frequently drawing on the artistic traditions of their native country without shunning references to landmark works.

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