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Kino/Film: Soviet Posters of the Silent Screen

29th March 2014

NOTE: AntikBar is running a Caption Competition a week before the end of this exhibition, from 15-22 March. The winner will be contacted after the draw on Saturday 22nd March and sent a copy of the exhibition catalogue. Click here for details on how to enter. Good luck! 


GRAD: Gallery for Russian Arts and Design in collaboration with AntikBar is pleased to present “Kino/Film: Soviet Posters of the Silent Screen” from 17 January to 29 March. As the UK/Russia Year of Culture begins, this exciting exhibition examines the golden age of Soviet film posters and is co-curated by Elena Sudakova, director of GRAD, and film critic and art historian Lutz Becker.

The 1920s saw the advent of new and radical graphic design created to advertise silent films across the Soviet Union. Film posters of this era have become masterpieces in their own right, produced at a time when innovative on-screen techniques were being incorporated into the design of advertisements. Over 30 works by Aleksandr Rodchenko, the brothers Georgii and Vladimir Stenberg, Yakov Ruklevsky, Aleksandr Naumov, Mikhail Dlugach and Nikolai Prusakov, will be on display.

Stenberg Brothers, Battleship Potemkin, 1925. courtesy GRAD and Antikbar

During the mid- to late-1920s cinema flourished in the Soviet Union. A relatively new art form, film matched the revolutionary ethos of an emerging generation of artists for whom fine art was deemed bourgeois. The advantages of using film as a propaganda tool for the largely illiterate masses were not lost on the government, who supported the burgeoning film industry. A state-controlled organisation, Sovkino, managed the distribution of foreign films, including those from the US which were very popular; profits were used to subsidise domestic film production. These Soviet films soon gained an international reputation through feature-length masterworks such as Battleship Potemkin.

Under the umbrella of Sovkino, Reklam Film was the department that controlled the production of film posters across the USSR and at its helm was designer Yakov Ruklevsky, who engaged a number of talented young artists. They created a whole new visual vocabulary for film posters, both foreign and domestic, incorporating the practices they saw on-screen. As the films were black and white, the designers employed their artistic licence to great effect, using vivid colour blocking and dynamic typographical experiments to capture the essence of each production, sometimes without having even seen it. The result is a body of work which is both powerful and enduring.

Aleksandr Naumov, Oil, 1927 courtesy GRAD and Antikbar

To accompany the exhibition GRAD will host screenings to showcase the innovative techniques employed by the poster artists and film-makers of this era. Excerpts of seminal films
Battleship Potemkin, October and the ground-breaking documentary, The Man with the Movie Camera, will highlight the symbiotic relationship between the pioneering vision of directors such as Sergei Eisenstein and Dziga Vertov and the output of the poster artists engaged to promote them. Techniques such as cinematic montage, repetition, asymmetric viewpoints and dramatic foreshortenings were used in the creation of both the films and the posters, leading to the appearance of a distinctive and highly influential body of design. Mass produced during the 1920s, the posters were made for one use only and few originals survive. 

The exhibition at GRAD is a rare opportunity to see these seminal works, many of which have not been exhibited in the UK before - for more information, please visit the GRAD website
. Address: 3-4a Little Portland Street, London W1W 7JB. Open: Mon-Fri 11am to 7pm, Sat 11am to 5pm. If you are unable to make it to the exhibition, you might be interested in watching the YouTube clips and listening to the audio guide listed below: 

YouTube links:
Panel Discussion with co-curators Elena Sudakova and Lutz Becker, Dr. Paul Rennie (Central St Martins), Isabel Stevens (BFI) and Dr Philip Cavendish (UCL)  - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vpodmMO3mSY&feature=youtu.be  
A Curator Talks series hosted by Lutz Becker on: 
"October" - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d3u05dwbY_c&feature=youtu.be  
"Chess Fever" and "The Three Million Case" - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KW5M0RQ_B4E 
"The End of St Petersburg" - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XllKj8Ox-bU
"Man With A Movie Camera" - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N3wfzOCZYXA 
"Storm Over Asia" and "Turksib" - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aCa_c0novI0  

Audio Guide:
The audio guide for some of the movie posters displayed are now available at https://soundcloud.com/grad-london and visitors to the exhibition will be able to access the exhibition's interactive audio guide via their smart phones using the Blippar app. For more information, visit http://artdaily.com/news/68364/GRAD-is-the-first-UK-gallery-to-use-augmented-reality-app-in-an-exhibition-space#.Uwo4K_l_tTF for a review of the Blippar app being used at GRAD to enhance visitors' experience to the Kino/Film exhibition.


Note: You can join this event via our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/events/468994173204584/ (also listed on our WordPress page).  


Creative Review - http://www.creativereview.co.uk/cr-blog/2014/january/soviet-film-posters 
Adrian Yekkes - http://adrianyekkes.blogspot.co.uk/2014/01/soviet-posters-of-silent-screen-at.html "The posters in the current exhibition are the property of Antikbar, dealers in antique posters. Their website is a show in itself!" 
Design Curial - http://www.designcurial.com/news/the-art-of-repetition-310114-4169292/ 
SoloPress - http://blog.solopress.com/posters-printing/design-inspiration-soviet-posters-of-the-silent-screen/ 
Claire Mead - http://clairemead.wordpress.com/2014/03/13/kinofilm-soviet-posters-of-the-silent-screen-at-grad/ 
Ian Visits - http://www.ianvisits.co.uk/blog/2014/03/01/three-art-galleries-to-visit-maybe/  

Pre-Event Opening Reviews & Listings: 
Financial Times - http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/abda3842-77a2-11e3-807e-00144feabdc0.html#axzz2qY25B3LA and http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/53e3b834-7801-11e3-afc5-00144feabdc0.html#axzz2qYqzzt76 
Independent - http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/art/news/the-golden-age-of-soviet-film-posters-9051987.html 
BBC History - http://www.historyextra.com/gallery/soviet-posters-silent-screen 
Guardian/Observer - http://www.theguardian.com/film/gallery/2014/jan/05/silent-cinema-soviet-film-posters-russia 
Phaidon - http://uk.phaidon.com/agenda/design/articles/2014/january/15/how-soviet-posters-brought-colour-to-a-bandw-era/ 
ASFF - http://www.asff.co.uk/kinofilm-soviet-posters-of-the-silent-screen-grad-17-january-29-march-2014/ 
Frame - http://www.frameweb.com/news/kino/film-soviet-posters-of-the-silent-screen 
Blouin Art Info - http://uk.blouinartinfo.com/news/story/999140/kino-grad-to-show-rare-soviet-film-posters 
Metropolis - http://www.metropolismag.com/January-2014/From-Russia-with-Love/ 
Evening Standard - http://www.standard.co.uk/goingout/exhibitions/kinofilm-soviet-posters-silent-screen-268633 
The List - http://www.list.co.uk/event/384674-kino-film-soviet-posters-of-the-silent-screen/ 
Volt Cafe - http://www.voltcafe.com/blog/kinofilm-soviet-posters-of-the-silent-screen 
Dexigner - http://www.dexigner.com/news/27155 
Paper Ideas - http://www.paperideas.it/paperzine/news/6098-KinoFilm:_Soviet_Posters_of_the_Silent_Screen#.UtfEQ_RdVTF 
Time Out - http://www.timeout.com/london/art/this-weeks-best-new-art 
Buro 24/7 - http://www.buro247.com/me/culture/films-and-theatre/soviet-posters-grad-london.html 
Art Rabbit - http://www.artrabbit.com/events/event/44316/kino_film_soviet_posters_of_the_silent_screen 
Country and Town House - http://countryandtownhouse.co.uk/the-edit/culture-vulture/kinofilm-soviet-posters-of-the-silent-screen/#.UthU4vRdVTE 
Ian Visits - http://www.ianvisits.co.uk/calendar/detail.php?uid=39486 and http://www.ianvisits.co.uk/blog/2014/03/01/three-art-galleries-to-visit-maybe/ 
Deconstructed - http://www.deconstructed.org.uk/DeBlog/?p=5668 
Internazionale - http://www.internazionale.it/portfolio/cinema-da-poster/ 
& other newspapers and magazines, art and film/movie journals, event listings, airline and travel magazines (Emirates, EasyJet...), blogs etc.

Featured Image: Three Million Case, Stenberg Brothers (1929)
Also: Battleship Potemkin, Stenberg Brothers (1929) and Neft (Oil), Alexander Naumov (1927) 


  The Uprising - Mikhail Dlugach       
  Oil (Neft) - Alexander Naumov      
  Cement - Mikhail Dlugach       
  Turksib - Stenberg Brothers 
  The Screw from Another Machine - Stenberg Brothers     
   Sport Fever - Stenberg Brothers      
   Knight's Move - Stenberg Brothers      
  A Dancer's Career - Nikolai Prusakov 
  The Second Exhibition of Film Posters - Nikolai Prusakov     
  The End of St Petersburg - Izrail Bograd     
  Storm over Asia - Semyon Semyonov-Menes     
  Love's Carnival - artist unknown 
  Heroes of the Blast Furnace - artist unknown     
  The Three Million Dollar Case - Stenberg Brothers     
  A Life for a Life - artist unknown     
  Dare We Stay Quiet - artist unknown 
  A Woman from the Fair - Nikolai Prusakov     
  October - Stenberg Brothers      
  Death Loop - Stenberg Brothers      
  October - Yakov Ruklevsky 
  A Man and a Livery - Stenberg Brothers     
  A Perfect Gentleman - Stenberg Brothers      
  Engineer Strong's Project - Stenberg Brothers     
  The End of St Petersburg - Semyon Semyonov-Menes 
  Death of Sensation - Viktor Klimashin      
  Decembrists - Stenberg Brothers     
  Battleship Potemkin - Stenberg Brothers  


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