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El Lissitzky. The Experience of Totality

  • Art
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

No pop art is more pop than Soviet art. People like Andy Warhol came 40 years late to conclusions that people like El Lissitzky had already implemented in full revolutionary wave. Don't believe it? Then get to the Fundació Catalunya La Pedrera and see for yourself.

Consider that art was once only for wealthy people. It wasn't for the illiterate masses. The world was grossly unfair, but science, technology and industry managed to help humankind conceive of a better society. And one of these scientific solutions was communism. Never mind about poverty in Cuba or North Korean paranoia.

Consider the opportunity offered to young people like El Lissitzky to create the world over again. A project culture. Experimenting with the new. Non-ideological geometry, pure plasticism without history or context. Plasticism to renew the language of the book – and typography itself – of posters, film, photography and architecture. Even for exhibition pavilions at art fairs. Americans would do the same after WWII with the minimalists: pavilions.

El Lissitzsky is in company with the Dutch artists from the De Stijl school, the German Bauhaus artists, with film-makers such as Dziga Vertov. He abandoned painting for the experimental possibilities of photography. And when Stalin imposed 'socialist realism', he didn't encounter any problems as did other of his contemporaries, despite the fact he was Jewish and there was so much anti-semitism in the USSR then. But then again, everyone was susceptible to Siberian holidays ... El Lissitzsky saved himself by designing advertising posters and magazines.


€3 (reduced €2)
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