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Aleksandr Rodchenko: Photography in the Time of Stalin

Aleksandr Rodchenko: Photography in the Time of Stalin

Current price: $65.00
Publication Date: January 17th, 2023
Publisher:
Yale University Press
ISBN:
9780300254037
Pages:
256
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Description

Through the lens of Aleksandr Rodchenko’s photography, a new and provocative understanding emerges of the troubled relationship between technology, modernism, and state power in Stalin’s Soviet Union
 
“Glebova’s book is a valuable addition to the literature on this remarkable and always relevant figure.”—Peter Lowe, Russian Art + Culture
 
Tracing the shifting meanings of photography in the early Soviet Union, Aglaya K. Glebova reconsiders the relationship between art and politics during what is usually considered the end of the critical avant-garde. Aleksandr Rodchenko (1891–1956), a versatile Russian artist and one of Constructivism’s founders, embraced photography as a medium of revolutionary modernity. Yet his photographic work between the late 1920s and the end of the 1930s exhibits an expansive search for a different pictorial language.
 
In the context of the extreme transformations carried out under the first Five-Year Plans, Rodchenko’s photography questioned his own modernist commitments. At the heart of this book is Rodchenko’s infamous 1933 photo-essay on the White Sea–Baltic Canal, site of one of the first gulags. Glebova’s careful reading of Rodchenko’s photography reveals a surprisingly heterodox practice and brings to light experiments in adjacent media, including the collaborative design work he undertook with Varvara Stepanova, Rodchenko’s partner in art and life.

About the Author

Aglaya K. Glebova is associate professor in the History of Art Department at the University of California, Berkeley.

Praise for Aleksandr Rodchenko: Photography in the Time of Stalin

“Glebova’s book is a valuable addition to the literature on this remarkable and always relevant figure.”—Peter Lowe, Russian Art + Culture

“Glebova’s painstaking analysis reveals a more complex side to [Rodchenko’s] work. . . . An unflinching focus on the far more opaque and challenging work Rodchenko undertook in the dark years of the 1930s.”—Rosamund Bartlett, Literary Review

Co-winner of the MSA 1st Book Prize, sponsored by the Modernist Studies Association

“Glebova’s perspicacious and eloquent readings of Rodchenko’s works make new, and make much richer, his body of work.”—Kristin Romberg, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

“This is the most important book on Rodchenko, and an indispensable book to Russian art history, to the history of photography, and to the story of how modern art intersects with life and how artists practice their politics.”—Andrei Pop, University of Chicago