Student Response to Soviet Propaganda

Student Response to Soviet Propaganda

History of art students from the University of Aberdeen are launching an exhibition based on Soviet propaganda posters on December 15 in the James MacKay Hall, King's College Conference Centre.

The students, currently studying Modern Russian Art under the tutelage of Dr. Amy Bryzgel, were set the task of designing posters to advertise the University of Aberdeen in the style of Soviet Constructivist propaganda. Part of this assignment was to organize an exhibition showing their work. “The assignment was simply to exhibit their posters, but the students took the idea and really ran with it, organising an exhibition that places their work not only in the context of the Soviet posters that had inspired it, but also modern examples of advertising and packaging that reflect the influence of that style,” said Dr. Bryzgel.

These works are being shown to demonstrate the continuing influence of this revolutionary style on contemporary graphic imagery. The exhibition will take the viewer from examples of Russian propaganda works by artists such as Gustav Klucis, Alexander Rodchenko and El Lissitsky, and then use the student-made posters to show how the style can be adapted to publicise the University.

Dr Bryzgel said: “The students created their own advertisements by combining photographs, graphics, and text, in the same manner that the Soviet artists did. The result was a series of very dynamic images that capture the essence of the University, from a student’s perspective.

“Some students focused on the University’s geographic location on the North Sea coast, whereas others highlighted new constructions on campus, which parallel the construction of minds taking place in the classroom.”

The final section of the exhibition will feature contemporary examples of advertising that use aspects of Constructivist design.          

The students are organising and staging this exhibition as part of their course, aided by Dr. Bryzgel and Neil Curtis, Head of Museums at the University. He said: “I hope that the experience of curating an exhibition will benefit the students in the future, whether in their jobs or in presenting their research to a wider audience.”

The exhibition is free and will open to the public on Wednesday the December 15 at the James MacKay Hall in King's College Conference Centre. It will remain on view until April 1 2011.