Soviet Archive

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The Gourji Red Fashion Collection

Gourji – is a new Russian brand on the luxury goods market. It is unique and has no analogues. The philosophy and style of the Gourji brand are inextricably linked with the history of Russia. The brand takes a fresh look at the Eurasian cultural and historical context in which Russia is a melting pot of hundreds of cultures. The basic idea of ​​the Gourji brand – is to identify the brightest features of the artistic heritage of the past and present it in a contemporary way. The initiator of the project Dmitri Gourji – “a man of the world”, toured dozens of countries. An intellectual and romantic, a successful businessman, a collector, a man of varied interests. His passion about the country’s history and theories of the Eurasian states, Eurasian culture has prompted the idea of creating his own brand. “No matter what was the ideology of the country,” Dmitri explained to me during our meeting, “each epoch left behind its art and literature which are a part of our history and which we should not forget. It is what I call ‘a business card of the epoch.’ What’s important,” he continued sipping his coffee, “is not to forget this history and learn from it.” The Pen ‘Above the Saviour Tower’ evokes the main tower on the eastern wall of the  Kremlin which overlooks Red Square. Build in 1491 it was once the main enrance into the Kremlin. The earrings ‘Red Stars‘ (18K white gold & 12 rubies) bring […]

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Unpublished Mother Loss Memoir

28.04.2020 Posted in Red Lifestyle, Red Writing No Comments

To see the previous post My Mother Paola Volkova – Unpublished Mother Loss Memoir Part 3 On the day of your funeral a few men came to see my husband. They told him that they were the last love of your life. There were 3 or 4 of them. All were persuaded that it was true. When I went back to Moscow for the last time to empty your apartment, the first thing I saw upon entering was a stack of letters addressed to you. There were holiday greetings and announcements of events in the cinema and literary clubs to which you belonged. I left them on your dining table as if you might read them anytime soon. A few days later the phone rang. A woman called from the RTR, the 1st TV Channel. She wanted to ask you to participate in a talk show about Ludmila Gurchenko, a famous Soviet TV star. I told them you had died. They kept apologizing, saying that they did not know, how they had missed the news that you were gone. I thought it was your way of communicating with me while I was in the apartment. One of the gzhel boxes you had at home, the one which has a lid in the shape of an officer lying on a sofa, had keys in it. There were about a dozen of them. There were of all sorts of shapes and colors. Some were marked with a pink or blue ribbon. My […]

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My Mother Paola Volkova -Unpublished Mother Loss Memoir

To see the previous post My Mother Paola Volkova -Unpublished Mother Loss Memoir Part 2 The first few months after your death I spent in a fog. I did not notice the people around me. I stopped wearing a watch. Time had no meaning. All I knew was when the alarm went off in the morning, I had to get up to go to work. The clock on the PC in my office informed me that it was time to go back home. At work I forced myself to note down urgent tasks to do for the day and made myself do them. Otherwise I could easily spend the entire day surrounded by a fog, a thick white smoke. I saw nothing beyond it. Back home in the evening, I bought cold chicken and readymade salads for dinner until my husband politely pointed out to me that we had been eating the same food every day for the last few weeks. I’m jealous when I see mothers with their daughters on the streets. It makes me think that I will never be able to go with you for a coffee or a movie. Help you to sit down or put your coat on. I also think how happy they must be together. When I have first realized that I could not remember your face, I was so embarrassed that I could not admit it even to myself. I could remember your voice and gestures, how you placed your bag onto […]

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My Mother : Paola Volkova – Unpublished Mother Loss Memoir

7.04.2020 Posted in Red Art, Red History, Red Writing No Comments

My Mother : Paola Volkova – Unpublished Mother Loss Memoir Part 1 15 March 2014 Dearest Mom, today is the first anniversary of your death. In the Orthodox religion this date has something to do with the soul finally reaching its final destination. A pivotal moment for your future. Family and friends get together to mark this moment together with the deceased. They will meet in Moscow. I decided that I would not attend. I would stay at home in Paris. I woke up early this morning to spend the whole day with you. From my window I saw the first rays of the rising sun over Sacré Coeur basilica. How to explain my decision not to come? I used the pretext of having too much work to do. The family has probably found my excuse disrespectful. But I could not face going there, to smile and talk. I could not even look at your pictures. ***** Most of all I miss that tenderly-sarcastic look in your blue eyes. It is far away. Somewhere in the skies. Sociable as you were, by now you must have met most of your friends – the poet and screenwriter Tonino Guerra, film directors Andrey Tarkovski and Theodore Angelopoulos, and those you would have liked to have met while you were here – painters Giotto di Bondone, Sandro Botticelli and Kasimir Malevich – to discuss with them the indefinable mystery of great works of art. ****** Your death was unexpected. You were 82. I […]

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My New Red Book – Soviet Posters Pull-Out Edition

6.02.2015 Posted in Red Writing No Comments

And YES, one more time I would like to boast – just a little bit – about my new book, Soviet Posters Pull-Out Edition, published last autumn at Prestel, UK.  This large-format book of Soviet propaganda posters allows the reader to remove individual posters and is at once a revealing historical document and a sublime example of graphic art at its best. Dating from 1917 to the end of the Cold War, the posters in this book feature the work of groundbreaking Russian artists such as El Lissitzky and Alexander Rodchenko, alongside extraordinary works by their contemporaries. Presented in full color, printed on heavy paper, and in a large-format, the posters gathered here represent the pinnacle of Russian avant-garde design from the 20th century. They range in theme from the dangers of alcohol abuse and the creeping Nazi menace, to illustrations of utopian harmony and the Soviet industrial machine. A special feature of this book allows for the removal of the posters, which have been designed to fit standard frame sizes. A brief introduction offers a chronological overview of the period that produced such eloquent art, which has long been a major source of inspiration to artists and designers. This book is the second joint work with Sergro Grigorian, the owner of one of the largest Soviet Poster collections in the world.  Our first book, Soviet Posters: The Sergo Grigorian Collection, was published in May 2007, also at Prestel UK.  

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My New Red Book is Out – Soviet Posters: Pull-Out Edition

31.10.2014 Posted in Red Writing No Comments

My New Red Book – Soviet Posters: Pull-Out Edition – is finally out. Well, the previous book, Soviet Posters: The Sergo Grigorian Collection, was such a success that the Publishing House Prestel suggested that Sergo Grigorian, the owner of one of the largest Soviet Poster Collection’s in the world, and I do another book. So here we are. The book is totally different from the fist one. It has only 23 posters (compared to 250 in the previous one). But it is a Pull-Out Edition and the posters are presented in full color, printed on heavy paper, and in a large-format. The posters gathered in this book represent the pinnacle of Russian avant-garde design from the 20th century. They range in theme from the dangers of alcohol abuse and the creeping Nazi menace, to illustrations of utopian harmony and the Soviet industrial machine. A special feature of this book allows for the removal of the posters, which have been designed to fit standard frame sizes. A brief introduction offers a chronological overview of the period that produced such eloquent art, which has long been a major source of inspiration to artists and designers. The first Soviet propaganda poster appeared shortly after the revolution and they continued to be produced until 1985 when perestroika, Mikhail Gorbachev’s policy of opening up the Soviet Union,rendered the old-school political propaganda obsolete. Posters reflected all stages of Soviet history. Produced in varying quantities, ranging from a few hundred to thousands, the total yearly production of posters could be […]

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Soviet Posters and the Stories They have to Tell

11.10.2013 Posted in Red Art No Comments

An excellent example of Red Art is the Propaganda poster. The posters were used by the Soviet leaders as visual propaganda of communism. They remained a part of Soviet daily and cultural life until perestroika in the mid-1980s, when they were replaced by regular advertising. Produced in various quantities between 5.000 and 100.000, the posters often had a short life-span and were later destroyed. Today many have become rare items, and recently collector’s items, sold at  auction houses at prices often largely exceeding the initial estimate. The message and appearance of the poster depended on the changing ideology within the country. Some posters have interesting stories to tell. Nikolai Kupreyanov. Citizens, preserve historical monuments! 1919. The beginning of the Cultural Revolution caused tremendous damage to buildings, books, and works of art. Thousands of books are lost during the first years of the October Socialist Revolution, burned in the stoves or used as cigarette papers. Untold numbers of monuments and churches were destroyed by the Bolsheviks. This poster, as many others, is an effort to change people’s perception of cultural values of the monarchist, capitalist past. Its aim is to explain the importance of culture as well as the value of knowledge and education.     I. Boym The duty of every worker, 1930s. A remarkable poster created at the end of the 1930s, this shows an ideal life that does not yet exist but will come into being in the near future if the Soviet people put more effort into […]

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Red Crabs of Kamchatka

18.10.2013 Posted in Red Food No Comments

Red food manifests  in variety of different products. Everyone knows cherries and tomatoes; many are experts in red wine. During one of my recent visits to Moscow, I ordered the Crabs of Kamchatka. A few minutes later I was served the impressive slender claws and legs, which were over a half-meter long and which were … red. They were presented on a large plate with lemon and home-made mayonnaise for  dipping,  and had unexpectedly mild, juicy-sweet taste. The Crabs of Kamchatka  are a kind of  king crab whose legs’span can be up to 1.8 meters. They are found in the Okhotsk and Bering Seas, close to Japan. The crabs were one of the wonders of the Soviet economy. Few products were available in Russia and one of them was the crabs. They were so common that buyers had to be persuaded that they had to consume them. “Everyone has to taste how delicious and tasty the crabs are,” announced  Soviet advertisements  of the 1960s. Considered a delicacy outside of Russia, one of the surprises that waited for me during the first trips abroad after the 1985 perestroika was the price of the Crabs in the supermarkets which ranged from thirty to a few hundred euros. Back in France after my recent Kamchatka Crab experience in Moscow, I saw the same impressive claws and legs on the market. The Royal King Crab was among the products in the seafood stalls in the 16th arrondissement, beautifully displayed in the crushed ice as only French […]

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More Than Red!

20.09.2013 Posted in Red Lifestyle No Comments

This blog is for all people who see life through bright colors and the brightest of them – Red.

Red is generally associated with passion, love, anger, happiness and communism. It has more personal connotations than any other color and may implicate all sorts of subtexts. I’m looking at Red from two perspectives: as a Russian who was brought up in Moscow during the Brezhnev era and as a woman who sees daily life through the brightest of the colors.