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The new project, a kind of spin-off from the exhibition Surrealism in the Land of the Bolsheviks (2018), prepared by curators Nadia Plungian and Alexandra Selivanova, will show early Soviet culture through the lens of bugs: the imperceptible but persistent inhabitants of book pages, vegetable gardens, private apartments and communal houses, beds, and even kindergartens.
In the post-revolutionary years, representatives of the insect world were firmly established in pamphlets, songs, and propaganda posters, embodying the entire spectrum of external enemies of the proletariat. In the second half of the 1920s, the image of an external threat is replaced by the image of the "pest," that is, the inner enemy to be discovered and found. the "pests" were opposed by the industrious and useful "friends of man" - ants, bees, and silkworms. While the Soviet regime was struggling with real and metaphorical insects, artists and writers were trying on their mysterious world. On the border between Art Deco and early surrealism, insects flickered and crawled in the spaces of graphic art, film, and photography, lurked in children's literature, and shone in the theater. "Insect culture" of the pre-war years reflected, criticized, and sharpened the edges of Soviet everyday life and politics and brought together such dissimilar authors as Vladimir Favorsky, Fyodor Semyonov-Amursky, Vasily Vatagin, Alexander Rodchenko, Boris Smirnov, and others.