Between the Public and the Private is the first English-language publication to address the work of the pioneering Constructivist artist, designer, photographer and photomontagist Gustav Klutsis. Unlike the work of fellow members of the Soviet avant garde, such as Aleksandr Rodchenko and El Lissitsky, Klutsis’s extensive and innovative output has remained relatively unexplored. This catalogue also presents the groundbreaking but largely unknown work of Valentina Kulagina, Klutsis’s wife and colleague, and explores the creative partnership that existed between the two artists. In addition to a scholarly text by curator Margarita Tupitsyn, a leading scholar of Russian art and photography who has had access to the artists’ family archives, Between the Public and the Private presents, for the first time in any language, translated excerpts from Klutsis’s letters and Kulagina’s diaries, offering new insight on the artists and the political and cultural climate in which they were working.

The Soviet Union was unique in its dynamic use of the illustrated book as a means of propaganda. Through the form of the book, the USSR articulated its utopian (and eventually totalitarian) ideologies and expressed its absolute power through avant-garde writing and radical graphic design that was in full flower during the 1920s and 1930s.
No other country or political system advanced its cause by attracting and employing acclaimed members of the avant-garde. Among them were writers such as Semion Kirsanov, Vladimir Mayakovsky, Ilya Selvinsky, Sergei Tretyakov and Kornely Zelinsky; artist designers such as Gustav Klutsis, Valentina Kulagina, El Lissitzky, Sergei Senkin, Varvara Stepanova, Solomon Telingater and Nikolai Troshin; and photographers such as Dmitry Debabov, Vladimir Griuntal, Boris Ignatovich, Alexander Khlebnikov, Yeleazar Langman, Alexander Rodchenko and Georgy Petrusov, not to mention many of the best printing plants and bookbinders.
Gorgeously produced, edited and designed, The Soviet Photobook 1920-1941 presents 160 of the most stunning and elaborately produced photobooks from this period and includes more than 400 additional reference illustrations. The book also provides short biographies of the photobook contributors, some of whom are presented for the first time.

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