Koretsky: The Soviet Photo Poster, 1930-1984

Though my personal knowledge of Soviet posters doesn’t really extend much further than the bastardised versions I saw advertising hedonistic club nights in Ibiza back in 1989, I’ve long admired the rich and evocative style of illustration employed by the Soviet spin machine. Delving further into the world of Soviet propaganda it seems that Viktor Koretsky was the true master of the genre, whose career is comprehensively documented for the first time in this beautiful book. Spanning the pre-world war II thirties almost up to the game changing glasnost, each collection of full colour plates are helpfully divided into several sections; the first Five-Year Plan, World War II, Post-war Stalinism, the Thaw, the Brezhnev era and the twilight of Soviet authoritarian culture.  Art historian Eva Wolf’s introduction to the book provides a useful overview of Russian politics whilst the detailed descriptions alongside each of the two hundred images is like having a really clever mate accompany you round an art gallery. Despite all this information it’s still hard to take in just how many millions of people’s hearts and minds these posters had an effect on. A heavyweight book in more ways than one.

 

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