UC Berkeley History of Art Department


Departmental Events

The Soviet Face from Moscow to Uzbekistan: Aleksandr Rodchenko and Photography in the Age of Stalin

AGLAYA GLEBOVA, Assistant Professor of Art History, Film & Media Studies and Visual Studies, University of California at Irvine.

 In the late 1920s, the Soviet avant-garde extolled photography as the medium of revolutionary modernity. “Do not lie! Photograph and be photographed!” Aleksandr Rodchenko, one of the medium’s most vocal proponents, famously wrote in 1928. By 1937, Rodchenko had all but relinquished his camera. How did photography go, in the space of less than a decade, from a technology of the future to a medium that was not only dispensable but untenable? This talk explores some of the critical steps along this route through the tropes of the human face and the close-up and photography’s alleged oscillation between distortion and unveiling.