Let Us Fulfill the Plan of the Great Projects, 1930
Latvian, Russian, 1895 - 1938
gelatin silver print with gouache
15.6 x 11.4 cm
National Gallery of Canada (no. 36854)
© Estate of Gustav Klutsis / SODRAC (2013)
upraised hand, palm facing, with repeated hand motif and image of crowds in lower foreground
This is the original mock-up photomontage for a voting poster that would have been mass distributed. The Russian text translates as, "Fulfilled Plan, Great Work." The central motif of the raised hand functions as a sign for the collective voice and voting power of the masses. It also serves to monumentalize the role of manual workers and labourers within communist Russia. Composed on a diagonal, the poster creates the impression of dynamic action. Photomontage was viewed by Klutsis as an ideal visual medium for the purpose of socialist propaganda, since it was both representational and realistic. In October 1917 the Russian Revolution occurred; the monarchy and a repressive political system were overthrown in bloody battles. Klutsis and many others believed that art should serve the masses and the revolution. From 1913 on, many European artists used photomontage to create visual propaganda. In Russia the graphic power of posters and books came from a radical new use of typography, industrial design and technology (photography). Art's new function was to serve the utilitarian purpose of socialist propaganda, to be reproducible in a mass medium, and to have an "active function" rather than be a "contemplative representation."