The exhibition “Beetles and Caterpillars. Insect culture 1920-1940s” will be opened on June 18 in the Gallery “Na Shabolovke”. It is dedicated to various reflections of the insect world in early Soviet mythology and culture.
The gallery “Na Shabolovke” continues to reveal to the viewer the artistic life of the first half of the century through little-known, but memorable stories. A new project is a kind of spin-off of the exhibition “Surrealism in the Land of the Bolsheviks” (2018), prepared by curators Nadia Plungyan and Alexandra Selivanova-will show early Soviet culture in the optics of beetles: invisible, but stubborn inhabitants of book pages, vegetable gardens, private apartments and communal houses, garden beds and even kindergartens.
In the post-revolutionary years, representatives of the insect world firmly established themselves in brochures, songs and propaganda posters, personifying the entire spectrum of external enemies of the proletariat. Since the second half of the 1920s, the image of an external threat has been replaced by the image of a “pest”, an internal enemy that needs to be identified and found. The “pests” were opposed by hardworking and useful “friends of man” – ants, bees, silkworms.
While the Soviet government was fighting against real and metaphorical insects, artists and writers tried on their mysterious world. On the border of Art Deco and early surrealism, insects flickered and crawled in the spaces of graphics, cinema and photography, lurked in children's literature, shone in the theater. The “insect culture” of the pre-war years reflected, criticized, sharpened the edges of Soviet everyday life and politics and united such dissimilar authors as Vladimir Favorsky, Fedor Semyonov-Amursky, Vasily Vatagin, Alexander Rodchenko, Boris Smirnov and others.
The exhibition space, which combines entomological collections and instruments of the 1920s and 1930s, books, art works and the heritage of young naturalists, was built as a journey through microworlds by theater artist Zhenya Rzheznikova.
Opening: June 18, 19:00