Notting Hill director Margy Kinmonth has made a new film about a generation of Russian artists who painted incredible images, changing art from classical to modern, and many of whom were later killed or sent to GULAG forced labour camps in the frozen north. Revolution – New Art for a New World is a fast-paced feature documentary which looks at a transforming period in the history of Russia. The film brings artists of the Russian Avant-Garde to life, with stories of artists like Chagall, Kandinsky, Malevich, Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin (pic left, Fantasy, 1925) and others who for 15 years under Lenin’s rule flourished, with their New Art for a New World.
The artists all believed in the new regime, they wanted to destroy the old world and make it new. Lenin ordered a switch from classic art to avant garde art and then used avant garde artists to spread propaganda. He wanted huge statues in the streets to inspire the masses but most were made out of temporary material. Kinmonth has found some rare archive film to show us what some looked like. It was all claimed to be a victory of new art over the old.
Following Lenin’s death and the arrival of Stalin as leader there was a cultural exodus as artists like Kandinsky and Chagall, who fled to Germany and France. Sadistic Stalin realised the power of art in control. He introduced socialist realism and was keen on artists as ‘engineers of the human soul.’ He wanted everyone to paint the same, many Avant-Garde paintings were destroyed and the artists killed.
Kinmonth’s film shows how the Russian Avant-Garde continues to influence art movements and explores the fascination that these colourful paintings, inventive sculptures and propaganda posters retain over the modern artists 100 years on.
Revolution – New Art for a New World was filmed on location in Moscow, St. Petersburg and London, with access to The State Tretyakov Gallery, The State Russian Museum, The State Hermitage Museum and in co-operation with The Royal Academy of Arts. The film features paintings previously banned and unseen for decades, and masterpieces which rarely leave Russia. The film also features Matthew Macfadyen, Tom Hollander, James Fleet, Eleanor Tomlinson and Daisy Bevan.
Kinmonth says: “I was inspired, as an artist, to discover how many of the descendants of Russian Avant-Garde artists are themselves working as artists today. Access to their intensely moving stories brings to life this extraordinary period of artistic innovation, which continues to exert such a powerful legacy a hundred years on.” Here’s a little taster … https://youtu.be/LknMlue4T3g
Revolution is showing in cinemas across UK on 10th November, in London at Curzon Mayfair and Curzon Bloomsbury foxtrotfilms