El Lissitzky. USSR. Die russische Ausstellung (USSR: The Russian exhibition), poster for exhibition at the Kunstgewerbemuseum, Zurich. 1929
In Lissitzky’s poster a boy and a girl are photographically fused into a single entity to embody the ideal of the international Soviet and its egalitarian, collective consciousness. Their open-necked shirts and the girl’s breeze-blown hair, silhouetted against an open sky, speak to the children’s healthy lifestyle and, by association, the vitality of the state. This poster prefigures many of the conventions that would harden into Socialist Realism, including the relentless optimism and the gigantism that elevates figures to a superhuman scale and power. But Lissitzky’s skilled use of photomontage and graphic design also make this an effective piece of propaganda, which was widely admired by avant-garde designers at the time.
Learn more at MoMA.org/centuryofthechild