Artist Nina Vatolina’s poster, on the front of David King’s book,see left, is one of my favourites from this era.
The striking pose, colours and typography draw the viewer to the brutal detail in the background. The central figure of a woman in a red dress stands strong and powerful with one hand raised and the other points to traumatic scene in the background. A mother lies lifeless with her infant crawling towards her dead body, looking for comfort. There is a figure of a seated male by the body with his head between in arms in a position of defeat. Further into the background there is a city/town in the process of being destroyed by fire. The message calls women to fight in the struggle against the evil of Fascism. These posters were designed to make people stop in their tracks and to convey direct messages to the masses. And they still do just that.
David King’s book Russian Revolutionary Posters is a must-buy if you are as mesmerised as I am by the genius of these works of art. The book is mostly single page images with individual posters but there are short descriptions of the artists too. Little information is given about how the posters were created and there is little text throughout. But the posters are a joy to see – high quality graphic art to be admired. The speed in which these posters were created was incredible. Artists were creating posters and printing them whilst on trains as they made there way to all corners of the USSR. These trains were also equipped with cinemas, exhibition carriages, mobile theatres and classrooms bringing with them the message of the new Russian regime.