13 April - 09 July 2017
The Revolution is dead. Long live the Revolution!
Zentrum Paul Klee and Kunstmuseum Bern dedicate their joint exhibition "The Revolution is dead. Long live the Revolution!" to the 100th anniversary of the 1917 October Revolution in Russia. It is the only exhibition in the anniversary year that focuses both on the starting point of the revolution – that is, abstraction as an artistic concept and Constructivism′s aesthetic revolution – and on the impact of the revolution on artistic representations of reality and the critical examinition of it.
From Malewich to Judd
The exhibition at Zentrum Paul Klee focuses on the revolutionary spirit in visual epxressions of Russian Suprematism and Constructivism. They both had a radical impact on twentieth-century art when Kazimir Malevich, the founder of Suprematism, and the circle of Russian Constructivists led by Vladimir Tatlin and Alexander Rodchenko, made their breakthrough to geometric abstraction and construction. The Russian avantgarde inspired 20th-century artistic movements and positions, in Europe and Latin America. Its impact was particularly strong on Minimal and Conceptual Art in the U.S. in the 1960s and 1970s. Russian Suprematism and Constructivism are rightfully considered truly revolutionary art movements even today.
From Deineka to Bartana
The exhibition at Kunstmuseum Bern retraces Socialist Realism in contemporary art and its many shifts and changes since the Russian Revolution. In 1915 Malevich′s first Black Square painting reached the “zero point of painting”. Only two years later, Russia actually underwent a political and social revolution. In its representations of socialist themes, Propaganda Art not only embraced a realistic style, it also programmatically expressed a societal concept by promoting a society that did not exist then and never will.As the former Soviet Union reached crisis point and began to disintegrate, visual idioms were transformed. Timid criticism eventually turned into pastiche and, in the postmodern period, into subversive set pieces now devoid of ideological messages. Having gradually loosened the stays of socialist rhetoric, artists began to use the now meaningless visual ciphers in works that express their scathing criticism of a disillusioned and cynical late-capitalist society.