1937-1938. Artwork by Andrei Simonov (b. 1961) for a poster prepared for a 1988 competition, mixed media on carton, 90 x 60 cm.
From 50 years distance, artist, poet and linguist Andrei Simonov turns to one of the darkest periods of Soviet history. Like a cloud of smoke from the Stalin's pipe, menacing black birds rise in the dark night sky, growing larger and larger as they gain altitude. In a second, the viewer realizes that these are not really birds, but chimeric winged cars, a powerful metaphor for the dreaded chyorniye voronki [black ravens], the windowless trucks that were used by secret policemen coming after their victims and that came to symbolize the horror unleashed by the Great Leader and his oprichniks on the Soviet people. The impact of the Goya-esque nightmare image is further accentuated by the deliberately muted quote caption in the lower right corner: 1937-1938 is the most democratic period in Soviet history - Joseph Stalin.
When asked about his teachers, Andrei Simonov mentions "analytical copying" studies in the Hermitage under the legendary Leningrad artist and pedagogue Grigory Dlugach; a blurb-sized biography found on the Internet states that after studying with Dlugach, he continued his analytical studies independently. He widely exhibited in Russia and abroad, taking part in 70-plus international, all-Russia, and regional exhibitions; and between painting and writing poetry, found time to obtain a doctorate from the Sorbonne. His thesis deals with the concept of image as a primal and universal linguistic form.
Search extension words: Russian poster, Soviet poster
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