Commemorating the centenary of Shostakovich
23 September 2006 – 28 January 2007
Revolutionary Russians, an exhibition which marks the centenary of the birth of composer Dmitri Shostakovich (1906–1975), opens at the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, on Saturday 23September 2006.
During the twentieth century Russia saw radical movements in modern music, politics and culture – in particular the visual arts, design, photography and film. Revolutionary Russians showcases the Gallery’s outstanding collection of twentieth-century Russian art: journals, prints, books, porcelain, posters and photographs. Artists include the jewellers Fabergé, and many brilliant members of the avant-garde such as Kazimir Malevich, Natalya Goncharova and Olga Rozanova.
The great poet Vladimir Mayakovsky linked the early modernists with a new generation of Constructivist designers, El Lissitsky and Aleksandr Rodchenko. Building a new society in the Soviet Union was the aim of committed cultural revolutionaries such as the talented propagandists Gustav Klutsis and Valentina Kulagina, while Jakov Chernikov dreamed up his colourful fantastic architecture.
After Stalin ended the Utopian visions of the cultural Bolsheviks in the 1930s, artists retreated into the private worlds or into documentary realism. The official doctrine of Socialist Realism was subverted only in cinema and music. Shostakovich composed approximately forty film scores between 1929 and 1971: they include two masterpieces of Shakespeare on screen, Hamlet (1964) and King Lear (1971), which will be shown in the exhibition.
Revolutionary Russians is curated by Christine Dixon, Senior Curator, International Painting and Sculpture, National Gallery of Australia.
Admission is free.