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PREVIEW: The Strange Story of Soviet Music on the Bone (July 26)

‘Join musician Stephen Coates and photographer Paul Heartfield of the X-Ray Audio Project in a special evening ahead of the opening of their exhibition Bone Music at Garage Museum of Contemporary Art in Moscow. In the Soviet Union during the cold war era, the music people could listen to was ruthlessly controlled by the State. But a…

Robin Ashenden | July 24, 2017
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DASH CAFE:Teffi and ‘The Émigré Flight from Russia’

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The most recent event in the Revolution17 series, organised by Dash Arts, took place on 24 May at Rich Mix, focusing on the fate of Russian émigrés who fled the country after the October Revolution. The organisers chose to shape the evening around the figure of Teffi (Nadezhda Lokhvitskaya), a famous satirical writer and poetess…

Sofia Gurevich | June 7, 2017
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EXHIBITION REVIEW: Russian Revolution: Hope, Tragedy, Myths at the British Library

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The British Library seems the perfect place to host an exhibition dedicated to the Russian Revolution. With both Marx and Lenin having worked at moments in the reading rooms of its former premises, it can be easily seen as a cradle of the Soviet experiment. Russian Revolution: Hope, Tragedy, Myths, on view till 29 August…

Denis Stolyarov | May 10, 2017
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REVIEW: Dash Cafe – Odessa: a city of Rogues and Schnorrers

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‘Cigars and delicate silks, cocaine and metal files, loose-leaf tobacco from the state of Virginia and black wine purchased on the isle of Chios. Every object had its price; they washed down each figure with Bessarabian wine, which smelt of sunshine and bedbugs.’ This is how Odessian-born writer Isaac Babel (1894-1940) describes the riches of the port-…

Julia Secklehner | March 1, 2017
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Illuminating the Past: an Interview with ‘Neon’ film-maker Eric Bednarski

In ‘Neon’, Eric Bednarski’s award-winning 2014 documentary, the history of Warsaw is traced through its neon lights. It’s a retelling of Polish history, mixing documentary features from several decades, focusing in on small stories alongside the great events of the recent past. We caught up with the Director here.  CEEL: How did you come to choose neon…

Julia Secklehner | February 25, 2017
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EXHIBITION REVIEW: ‘Another Russia: Post-Soviet Printmaking’ at the V&A

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Another Russia: Post-Soviet Printmaking is one of V&A’s newest temporary displays, comprising around 40-50 graphic works and  offering both a fascinating insight into the post-Soviet printmaking practice and a glimpse into V&A’s contemporary art collecting activity. All works on view are the museum’s recent acquisitions, some made possible through the help of grant funds, and…

Sofia Gurevich | February 25, 2017
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FILM REVIEW: ‘Neon’ (2014) – Eric Bednarski’s electric account of Warsaw’s City Lights

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In this award-winning documentary, director Eric Bednarski traces the history of Poland’s capital through the city’s neon lights – merging design, politics and history in an ambitiously innovative project. It’s a retelling of Polish history, so often the subject of grand films that exploit the emotional weight of its traumatic turns from Nazism to Stalinism.…

Julia Secklehner | February 20, 2017
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BONE MUSIC: Recording Communism at the ICA

Resistance to dominant political forces can come in many forms. A small audience at the ICA on Sunday was treated to two excellent discussions about two forms of resistance in the former Soviet bloc and Romania. At the heart of both stories are illegal bootlegging and the remarkable ingenuity people find when faced with censorship…

Jo Varney | November 20, 2016
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PREVIEW: ‘Chuck Norris vs. Communism’ with special guest Irina Margareta Nistor, ‘the most famous voice of Communist cinephilia’ – Romanian Cultural Institute 11/11

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In 1985 Nicolae Ceaușescu, the Romanian dictator, was in his twentieth year of Communist rule. The country was culturally isolated, all forms of external media choked off, and in a cost and energy-saving exercise Ceaușescu cut state TV from two channels to one, limiting broadcasting to two or three hours a day. As in other Eastern Bloc…

Jo Varney | November 3, 2016