Saturday, 17 November 2012

Moscow protest posters heading to London

After appearing on Moscow’s streets in anti-Kremlin protests, Russian hand-made placards have embarked on a trip to London to replenish the fine collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum. Seven posters featured in an exhibition hosted by Moscow’s Artplay Design Center in February have been donated to one of the world’s best museums, the center said on Thursday. All the works have been selected by Catherine Flood, V&A’s curator at the Word and Image Department, during her stay in the Russian capital earlier this year, Alina Saprykina, the art-director of the design center on the Yauza River. Samples of Russian political graphics have already been featured in the V&A’s collection, many of them dating back to the beginning of the 20th century, to the time of the Bolshevik Revolution. For the most recent pieces of the country’s political art, however, the swanky area in central London occupied by the museum might not be their permanent destination, as Flood is hoping to include them in a touring exhibition of protest and revolutionary posters. “These placards are a fascinating part of the story of protest graphics today, raising issues about the relationship of design and political representation and the impact of the Internet on protest movements,” Flood said in an official comment, forwarded by Saprykina. In the beginning of the year, when public discontent with the government seemed to be on the rise, Artplay Design Center co-organized an exhibition, boasting 250 handmade placards, banners and costumes crafted for anti-Kremlin protests. Some of the showpieces were later collected by their authors to be used in protest activities later, Saprykina told The Moscow News. Her favorite pieces – a model tank and a red banner with the slogan “you can’t even imagine who we are,” was chosen as the exposition’s title – but both were given back, she said. One-hundred-and-eighty-eight pieces, however, have remained in Artplay’s collection, and 153 of them were passed on to the State Public Historical Library at the time. “It is important that these works stay after the rallies and marches, and are kept in the archives and museums as the evidence of the uniqueness of this historical period,” Saprykina said in an official comment.

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