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Russian Avant-Garde Theatre at the V&A

Posted on August 6, 2014

alexander rodchenko we


alexander rodchenko weThis 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.

5. vladimir tatlin costume design for life for the tsar 1913-1915 a. a. bakhrushin state central theatre museumThe 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 





Zoë was born in Edinburgh, and saw her first dance performances at the Festival there. She is the dance critic of The Independent, and has also written for The Independent on Sunday, The Scotsman and Dancing Times. In 2002, she received her doctorate from the University of York for a thesis on “Nationhood and epic romance: Ariosto, Sidney, Spenser”. She is the author of The Royal Ballet: 75 Years and The Ballet Lover’s Companion.

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