Revolution

We had the patrons’ preview of our exhibition Revolution:  Russian Art 1917-1932 last night, the first opportunity to see the reality of an exhibition which has been planned over a long period and was originally expected to try and reconstruct the survey exhibition of Russian painting shown first in Leningrad in 1932 and then in a reduced form in Moscow.   It has been accused in the Guardian of being unduly heroizing of a period of political tyranny, but this was written without Jonathan Jones having seen the exhibition.   In fact, it is just the opposite.   It starts by demonstrating the sense of optimism and opportunity released during the early stages of the Revolution, the experimentation of El Lissitzky and the avant-garde, but then shows the increasing disillusion, the romanticisation of history, the anxieties of social realism, ending with the horror of the Gulag.

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