Thursday, 2 October 2008

Socialist Realism in the Boardroom

At a meeting today, I came across this painting taking pride of place in a corporate boardroom. The style is evidently Socialist Realism, the dominant state-sponsored artform of Poland's Stalinist period (late '40s - early '50s). Note the clumsily-drawn figures, the drab colours (State Oil Paint Factory Nr. 4 in Chelyabinsk skimped on pigment), the cliched theme.

After the post-Stalinist thaw, this style of art was quickly forgotten, but now it has taken on a certain trendiness. I'm amazed there isn't more socialist realist painting around, given that canvasses of this style were commissioned by the square kilometre in the post-war period by the party sponsors. Architecture and sculpture, there's lots around; the Palace of Culture of course, Plac Konstytucji and the MDM. The Socrealizm museum in Kozłówka, near Lublin, is worth a visit, for sculpture, painting, photography and posters. See also this article about Socialist Realism in Poland.

Photo taken on my Nokia N95.

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