Today I managed to find time to visit A Soviet Design for Life at the University Library. There's such an array exhibitions on our doorstep here in Cambridge, but I must confess I always tend to miss them. But, I managed to make it to this one in the nick of time. If you're local and haven't been yet I'd recommend it - it's on until the 6th April.
I've always had an interest in typography and constructivist design, so the exhibits didn't disappoint. Unsurprisingly, red was used in a lot of designs and it was quite striking to see this colour in such abundance. Here are a few of the items that appealed most to me. Please excuse the noisy pictures as it was quite dark!
The abstract forms and complexities of constructivist works intrigue me. You can find out more about the movement here on MOMA.
The exhibition was put together from the University Library's Catherine Cooke collection. Cooke devoted her academic life to the study of Soviet design, and one of her major focusses was on the works of Chernikhov, a graphic designer and constructivist. His work 'Fantasy no.87', above right, appealed to me with its complicated abandon. I find that looking at constructivist designs makes my mind want to try and create something coherent and 'construct' something from the chaos. What do you think of it?
Items were grouped into categories and were juxtaposed across times. I particularly liked these items of paper ephemera from the 'Food' section - Leningrad ration coupons from 1947 and a pea soup packet from 1973.
With my love of all thing atomic and midcentury design, it's not surprising that these two postcards celebrating the Soviet space programme stood out for me.
And finally, my favourite piece in the show was this fabric design from the 20s-30s. I can never resist a 'novelty print' and would love to have been able to seen the rest of the designs in the book.
If you'd like to find out more about the exhibition you can visit it's dedicated site here and if you've been already then I'd love to know what the highlights were for you!