AKhRR Manifesto

Association of Artists of Revolutionary Russia (AKhRR), Declaration. June and July 1922

 

AKhRR promoted a realistic style, heroic representation of the Revolution, and didactic manner in art. This earned the disdain of the avant garde, but attracted both party support and a popular following. They increasingly became the dominant influence in art as the 1920s wore on, precursors of Socialist Realism. In addition to older realists, such as Abram Arkhipov, Nikolai Kasatkin, and Konstantin Iuon, AKhRR attracted many young artists, such as Isaak Brodsky, Aleksandr Gerasimov, and Boris loganson. In order to acquaint themselves with proletarian reality, many of the AKhRR members visited factories, iron foundries, and other proletarian worksites.

Original Source: Sovetskoe iskusstvo za 15 let, ed. Ivan Matsa et al. (Moscow-Leningrad, 1933), p. 345.

The Great October Revolution, in liberating the creative forces of the people, has aroused the consciousness of the masses and the artists-the spokesmen of the people’s spiritual life.

Our civic duty before mankind is to set down, artistically and documentarily, the revolutionary impulse of this great moment of history.

We will depict the present day: the life of the Red Army, the workers, the peasants, the revolutionaries, and the heroes of labor.

We will provide a true picture of events and not abstract concoctions discrediting our Revolution in the face of the international proletariat.

The old art groups existing before the Revolution have lost their meaning, the boundaries between them have been erased in regard to both ideology and form-and they continue to exist merely as circles of people linked together by personal connections but devoid of any ideological basis or content.

It is this content in art that we consider a sign of truth in a work of art, and the desire to express this content induces us, the artists of Revolutionary Russia, to join forces; the tasks before us are strictly defined.

The day of revolution, the moment of revolution, is the day of heroism, the moment of heroism–and now we must reveal our artistic experiences in the monumental forms of the style of heroic realism.

By acknowledging continuity in art and by basing ourselves on the contemporary world view, we create this style of heroic realism and lay the foundation of the universal building of future art, the art of a classless society.

Source: John E. Bowlt, ed., Russian Art of the Avant-garde: theory and criticism, 1902-1934 (New York: Viking Press, 1976), pp. 265-267.

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