Anna Suvorova

Anna Suvorova, The reflection of the 1917 Revolution  in the Russian Naive Art

Principal research scientist, Museum of Contemporary Art PERMM, Associate professor of Art History at Perm State University

Naive artists don’t show real stories, which eyewitnesses they were, but build their own universal, different the reality where they were living or which is an idealistic version of this reality. More interesting seems the problem of memories in the naive art when we start to analyze the creation of amateur artists who grew in a totalitarian government. Many of the Russian naive artists grew and were raised in the USSR, and on one hand, as many people had the naive faith in the «ideal state», the faith which was raised by ideology, on the other hand, they were living in the reality which was unjust. But when they started to paint, in their mind peculiarly disappeared all the negative or the traumatic, stayed the ideal image of government and people. Some of the naive artists (mainly the men) paint the images which link with political acts, global history; the other ones – mainly the women – depict their private life in the pictures. Personal and civic formation of naive artists took place in the Soviet period and their artistic creativity is individual projection of great social myth.

The understanding of naive art allows us to search the history and practice of social myth, the operation of the mass symbols of epoch. The ideological meanings of soviet mass culture were disseminated and reproduced by different ways: in the film, and architectural decoration, in book illustration and design demonstrations in the design of public spaces and art propaganda poster.

Specifics of Soviet art is concerned with the social and anthropological characteristics of those who are reading, listening to, watching, and, therefore, strive to be accessible and understandable audience. Soviet naive art was born as a manifestation of the viewer authorship gust of complicity in the creation of images and bright future meanings.

The originality of the Soviet naive art consists in the fact that it was born under the influence of socialist propaganda of visual agitation and existed in the context of Soviet myths and symbols. Naive artists were referring in his work the different sides of contemporary life such as work, holidays, tragedy and heroism, building a total utopia of Soviet life.

Practically every masterpiece is a visualization of a great narrative “about the time and about himself,” playing the role of myths illustrations of popular culture distributed in the form of popular songs, newspaper and magazine publicity clichéd illustrations.

Slide show:

The reflection of the 1917 Revolution 
in the Russian Naive Art