Lenin for children

A picture gallery

Image: Detail from poster encouraging literacy:
“Lenin is dead; Leninism lives”

From Krupskaia’s Reminiscences of Lenin

Lenin’s solicitude for the children was strikingly manifested during the famine that prevailed in 1919. The food situation became critical in May. At the second meeting of the Economic Commissium Ilyich raised the question of rendering relief in kind to the children of the workers.

Towards the end of May 1919 the situation got worse. There were lots of grain, thousands of tons of it, in the Ukraine, the Caucasus and in the East, but the civil war had cut off all communications, the central industrial districts were starving. The Commissariat of Education was swamped with complaints about there being nothing to feed the children with.

Lenin and Children, Young Guard

Lenin and Children, Young Guard (1924)

On May 14, 1919, the army of the North-Western Government launched an offensive against Petrograd. On May 15 General Rodzyaako had taken Gdov, the Estonian and Finnish White Guard troops started to advance, and fighting began at Koporskaya Bay. Ilyich was concerned about Petrograd. It was characteristic of him that at this very same time, on May 17, he put through a decree for children to be fed free of charge. This decree provided for the improvement of the food supply for children and the welfare of the working people, and ordered that such supplies should be issued free of charge to all children up to 14 irrespective of their parents’ ration class. The decree applied to the large industrial centres of sixteen non-agricultural gubernias. Continue reading

The “arkhitektons” and “planets” of Suprematism

Kazimir Malevich, Nikolai Suetin,
and Il’ia Chashnik, 
with an
article by Aleksei Gan

Extracts from SA, 1927
(no. 3, pgs. 104-106)

During recent years comrade Malevich has worked exclusively in the field of volumetric Suprematist compositions, on problems of the volumetric and spatial forms of material masses. This is somewhat related to the tasks facing creators of modern architecture.

Malevich works intuitively…His experience is not organized by consciousness…So while volumetric Suprematism does not yield objects of that concrete social utility without which modern architecture is not architecture at all, they have vast importance as abstract research of new form, as such.

Kazimir Malevich does not accept either [Rationalism or Constructivism]. He pursues his own “purely suprematist” path, on the principle of its “primacy” or “superiority” [pervenstvo]. What then is Suprematist architecture? It is “the primacy of volumetric masses and their spatial solution in consideration of weight, speed, and direction of movement.”

True, this metaphysical formulation does not yield much, to put it mildly, to an intellect thinking materialistically. But Malevich does not only speak, he does, and what Malevich does, we repeat, has great psychological importance. In his new Suprematist volumes and volumetric combinations there is not the smallest particle of atavism.

This is where Suprematist studies can be very important. They could be very beneficially introduced into the Basic Course of the VKhUTEMAS, in parallel to those exercises currently conducted under the influence of the psychologist [Hugo] Münsterberg’s Harvard Laboratory.

The novelty, purity, and originality of abstract Suprematism fosters a new psychology of perception. This is where Malevich’s great contribution will lie.