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Poster, USSR – Russische Ausstellung – Kunstgewerbemuseum Zürich, 1929
El Lisickij
Poster, USSR – Russische Ausstellung – Kunstgewerbemuseum Zürich,
El Lisickij,

Poster, USSR – Russische Ausstellung – Kunstgewerbemuseum Zürich,

El Lisickij
Museum für Gestaltung Zürich
Ausstellungsstrasse 60
8031 Zurich
Museum map
Museum für Gestaltung Zürich
Toni-Areal, Pfingstweidstrasse 94
8031 Zurich
  • USSR – Russische Ausstellung – Kunstgewerbemuseum Zürich El Lisickij
Listen to the text

El’ Lisickij (1890–1941) poster for the exhibition on Russian art at Zurich’s Kunstgewerbemuseum (today the Museum für Gestaltung Zürich) is one of the most important works in the Poster Collection, partly due to its rarity. Here the father of Constructivism combined photography and typography with progressive graphic design techniques in an image that reveals his political endorsement of the Soviet Union.

Organized by VOKS, the Soviet All-Union Society for Cultural Relations with Foreign Countries, the traveling exhibition had its first stop at the Kunstgewerbemuseum in Zurich, in 1929. The state of applied arts in Russia was presented based on examples from the book trade, graphic design, theater, and photography. El’ Lisickij, who resided in Switzerland from 1923 to 1925 for health reasons and maintained close ties to the Western European avant-garde, designed the exhibition poster. This is an early instance of the prominent use of photomontage, an innovative technique at the time. The faces of a boy and a girl merge, sharing an eye. They thus embody the aspiration toward gender equality during the Communist era. Their forward-facing gaze, open shirt collars, and billowing hair promise freedom and zest for life. With the initials USSR emblazoned across their foreheads, they become optimistic ambassadors for the Soviet Union. In the lower section of the poster, Lissitzky makes reference to the no-frills exhibition architecture. The tapered exhibition title in sans-serif type as well as the name of the museum running along a vertical bar on the left demonstrate a progressive use of typography. Due to Soviet isolation under Stalin and the suppression of the Swiss avant-garde in the Soviet Union, Lissitzky’s pioneering achievements would not receive due recognition until the postwar period. (Bettina Richter)

Plakat, USSR – Russische Ausstellung – Kunstgewerbemuseum Zürich, 1929
Erscheinungsland: Schweiz
Gestaltung: El' Lisickij
Auftrag: Kunstgewerbemuseum Zürich, CH
Material/Technik: Lithografie
125 × 90.5 cm
Eigentum: Museum für Gestaltung Zürich / ZHdK

Image creditso

Plakat, USSR – Russische Ausstellung – Kunstgewerbemuseum Zürich, 1929, Schweiz, Gestaltung: El' Lisickij
Abbildung: Museum für Gestaltung Zürich / ZHdK

Plakat, Davajte pobol'še tankov, protivotankovych ružej i orudij, samoletov, pušek, minometov, snarjadov, pulemetov, vintovok! Vse dlja fronta! V se dla pobedy!, 1942
(Liefert mehr Panzer, Panzerabwehrgeschütze, Flugzeuge, Kanonen, Minenwerfer, Maschinengewehre! Alles für die Front! Alles für den Sieg!), 1942, Gestaltung: El' Lisickij
Abbildung: Museum für Gestaltung Zürich / ZHdK