Posted on August 6, 2014
This autumn, more than 150 radical theatre designs will go on display at the Victoria and Albert Museum’s Theatre and Performance galleries. Russian Avant-Garde Theatre: War, Revolution and Design, 1913–1933 features designs by artists including Kazimir Malevich, Alexander Rodchenko, Vladimir Tatlin, Alexandra Exter, El Lissitsky, Liubov Popova and Varvara Stepanova.
Created over a period marked by World War I and the Russian revolutions, the works show the extraordinary transformation of Russian culture, with groundbreaking theatre design.
The display opens with set and costume designs by the painter Kasimir Malevich, including sketches and lithographs for the Futurist opera Victory Over the Sun. Alexander Rodchenko’s designs for the satirical play The Bedbug include futuristic costumes with breathing apparatus to suggest the people of the future. The display also includes Rodchenko’s geometric costume designs for We (pictured), a 1920 production that was eventually banned by the authorities.
Alexandra Exter’s designs for ballet, opera and plays will be included, as well as costume designs for the 1924 science fiction film Aelita: Queen of Mars.
The display, created in collaboration with the A. A. Bakhrushin State Central Theatre Museum, runs from October 18, 2014 to January 25, 2015.
Top: Alexander Rodchenko, cosume design for We, 1919, A A Bakhrushin State Central Theatre Museum
Below: Vladimir Tatlin, costume design for A Life for the Tsar, A A Bakhrushin State Central Theatre Museum