Soviet silent film posters

The 1920s saw silent cinema flourish in the Soviet Union. An emerging generation of artists was encouraged by a Government who saw the opportunity of using film as a propaganda tool.

Stenberg Brothers, Battleship Potemkin, 1925. courtesy GRAD and Antikbar
Stenberg Brothers, Battleship Potemkin, 1925. courtesy GRAD and Antikbar

Films such as October and Battleship Potemkin gained international acclaim, and were promoted by film posters created by the likes of Aleksandr Rodchenko and the Stenberg brothers.

Stenberg Brothers, The Three Million Case, 1926 courtesy GRAD and Antikbar
Stenberg Brothers, The Three Million Case, 1926 courtesy GRAD and Antikbar

The posters were produced by the Government-run Reklan film department, under the control of designer Yakov Ruklevsky, who recruited a host of talented young artists to work on the films.

Stenberg Brothers, October, 1927 courtesy GRAD and Antikbar
Stenberg Brothers, October, 1927 courtesy GRAD and Antikbar

The designers used vivid colour blocking and typographic experiments to promote the black-and-white films, often without even having seen them.

Stenberg Brothers, The Screw from Another Machine, 1926 courtesy GRAD and Antikbar
Stenberg Brothers, The Screw from Another Machine, 1926 courtesy GRAD and Antikbar

London’s Gallery for Russian Arts and Design is bringing together a collection of the posters – many of which have not been seen before in the UK – for a new exhibition.

Aleksandr Naumov, Oil, 1927 courtesy GRAD and Antikbar
Aleksandr Naumov, Oil, 1927 courtesy GRAD and Antikbar

And to show the relationship between the films and the posters, GRAD will be screening excerpts of 1920s Russian films alongside the prints.

Kino/Film: Soviet Posters of the Silent Screen, is at GRAD, 3-4a Little Portland Street, London W1, from 17 January-29 March 2014.

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