A Game in Hell. The Great War in Russia
26 September — 27 November 2014
£5 entry charge
GRAD: Gallery for Russian Arts and Design presents A Game in Hell. The Great War in Russia, an exhibition curated by two of today’s most prominent Russian scholars, Prof John Bowlt and Dr Nicoletta Misler.
A Game in Hell. The Great War in Russia
26 September — 27 November 2014
£5 entry charge; concessions available
Curated by Prof John Bowlt and Dr Nicoletta Misler
Exhibition design by Calum Storrie and Katya Sivers
Photographs by Tim Roberts
A Game in Hell. The Great War in Russia examines the artistic and historical significance of the First World War in Russia. So rapidly was the First World War succeeded by the 1917 Revolution and the Russian Civil War that there was little time to process its impact during the changing regimes that followed. In collaboration with the Russian State Library and an important private collection, GRAD brings together a rich variety of contemporaneous materials, many of which are on display for the first time in a public context, to examine public, personal and artistic responses to the war. Exhibits include Natalia Goncharova’s woodcut portfolio ‘Mystical Images of War’ and handmade Futurist books, as well as propaganda lubki by Vladimir Mayakovsky and Kazimir Malevich and photographs of the conflict.
Many of the items on display at GRAD are part of the exceptional collection of Sergey Shestakov, which averages in total around 500 printed items, periodicals and graphic designs and over 2000 photographs. The collection is particularly important due to the dearth of materials relating to the First World War in Russian museums, which they were instructed to disregard during the Soviet period. Shestakov’s collection brings to lightthe personal stories of Russians affected by the War, unveiling a plurality of perspectives. Satirical prints, cartoons and illustrated periodicals show the changing attitudes of the public and the media to the unfolding conflict. Unique photograph albums, which have never before been exhibited, depict the daily routines of front line military service and illustrate the stories and exploits of an entire air force battalion.
The exhibition also examines the birth of Russia’s artistic avant-garde, whose members were influenced by the stylised aesthetics of popular prints and the naïve style of children’s drawings. Hand-crafted Futurist books by artists such as Olga Rozanova, Aleksei Kruchenykh, Velimir Khlebnikov and Pavel Filonov combine poetry with collage and various printing techniques. Examples of these books included in the exhibition are ‘A Game in Hell’, ‘War’ and ‘World Backwards’: today considered masterworks of the period, these books are rarely on display due to the delicate nature of their materials.
This year’s centennial commemoration provides an opportunity to examine the First World War from new perspectives, and GRAD’s exhibition makes a significant and enlightening contribution. Through careful curation of these rare and revealing objects, GRAD unearths the remarkable personal stories of those living in the wartime period in Russia, and the impact of the war on so many different individuals’ lives. This is the first time such an exhibition has been attempted outside Russia.
The First World War on Film
25 November 2014
6.30pm – 8.00pm. Free with entrance to the exhibition (£5, £3 concessions)
Join us for an evening exploring how the First World War was depicted in Russia on film, in collaboration with the Kino Klassica Foundation. A talk by European cinema specialist Prof Ian Christie will be complemented by a selection of clips, from documentary to feature films and archival footage.
12 November 2014
Free with entrance to the exhibition (£5, £3 concessions)
Discover the historical and technical intricacies of lubok with a talk from SSEES Emeritus Professor Faith Wigzell and a woodcut demonstration from art historian and print-maker Helen Higgins.
The Russian popular print known as lubok first appeared in the seventeenth century and became the primary visual source in Imperial Russia. Similar to the European broadside, the lubok featured many subjects from Biblical stories to historical events, all presented in lively colourful fashion. Cheap and ubiquitous, the lubok also became a source of inspiration for the artists of the Russian avant-garde.
Faith Wigzell joined UCL’s School of Slavonic and East European Studies in 1966 and remains Emeritus Professor of Russian Literature. Her publications explore the rich history of Russian medieval culture, nineteenth-century literature, folklore and popular belief.
Helen Higgins is a printmaker, art historian and curator. Having worked at the Hayward Gallery, Tate Modern and Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice, Helen is now Gallery Educator at the Courtauld Gallery. Helen also holds an MA in Russian Art from The Courtauld Institute.
18 October 2014
2.00 pm. Free with entrance to the exhibition (£5, £3 concessions)
Join Alexandra Chiriac and Ellie Pavey for a tour of the exhibition, discussing visual representations of the First World War in Russia.
CONFERENCE: A Game in Hell. The Great War in Russia
27 September 2014
This full-day interdisciplinary conference coincides with the opening of the exhibition ‘A Game in Hell’: The Great War in Russia at GRAD: Gallery for Russian Arts and Design. Curated by two of today’s most prominent scholars of Russian art, Professor John Bowlt and Dr Nicoletta Misler, the exhibition examines the artistic and historical significance of the Great War in Russia.
This year’s centennial commemoration is an opportune time to examine this long-neglected period of Russian modern history. Such was the rapidity with which the Great War was succeeded by the 1917 Revolution and the Russian Civil War that there was little time to process its impact during successive regimes. Speakers will address the profound influence of the Great War on Russian society and culture from new perspectives, discussing topics that include the evaluation of military events on the Eastern Front; the response of avant-garde artists to the war; the role of women during the conflict; the changing uses of printed propaganda and photography; and the repercussions of wartime on Russian literary circles.
Organised by GRAD (Alexandra Chiriac) and the Cambridge Courtauld Russian Art Centre (Natalia Budanova) in collaboration with The Courtauld Institute of Art (Professor John Milner).
Ticket/Entry details: £16 (£11 students and concessions, £8 GRAD members).
Book online: http://courtauld-institute.digitalmuseum.co.uk or send a cheque payable to ‘Courtauld Institute of Art’ to Research Forum Events Co-ordinator, Research Forum, The Courtauld Institute of Art, Somerset House, Strand, London WC2R 0RN, stating the event title ‘A Game in Hell’. For further information, email ResearchForumEvents@courtauld.ac.uk
Event Details Address: Kenneth Clark Lecture Theatre, The Courtauld Institute of Art, Somerset House, Strand, London WC2R 0RN
A GAME IN HELL: OPENING NIGHT
25 September 2014
GRAD opened its doors to press, guests and exhibition lenders to celebrate A Game in Hell: The Great War in Russia.