Title:: Politicizing the Landscape
The lecture Politicizing the Landscape will examine discourses around nature and landscape in the Soviet art criticism of the Stalin period. Far from being subordinated to the themes of industrial construction and socialist transformation, the depiction of nature was a major preoccupation of Socialist Realism. Indeed, it became progressively stronger as the Stalinist period developed from the 1930s to the early 1950s. Stalinist political aesthetics maintained that the political and social values that were most important in the USSR could be conveyed through the imagery of the natural landscape. Consequently, there was much discussion in the literature as to how these ideological messages could best be articulated. An examination of this discourse reveals, however, that the semantic potentials of landscape art ran in very different directions. Thus while Stalinist art was eminently successful in ‘politicizing’ the representation of the natural world, it was manifestly unable to remove the ambiguous and even contradictory nature of the messages that resulted.
Mark Bassin is Professor at Södertörn University, Visiting Professor at Uppsala University, and an Associate Fellow at the Swedish Institute. His research interests are related to history of ideology, culture and political geography.
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