Gustav Klutsis, Shock workers of the fields engage in fighting for the socialist reconstruction of agriculture, 1932
This 1932 poster by highly acclaimed photomontage artist Gustav Klutsis focuses on agriculture and references the six conditions outlined in Stalin's speech of 23 June, 1931.
The shock workers (udarniki), people who performed exemplary and extraordinary feats of labour, were the predecessors of the Stakhanovites. From the 1950s, the shock worker of communist labour (udarnik kommunisticheskogo truda) was an official title, awarded along with a badge, certificate and cash.
In Klutsis' poster, Stalin rises solid from the earth, forged to the motherland and presenting a fortress of protection for the work beneath him.
Immediately beneath him and literally heading into his body is a wedge-shaped scene of the old, labour-intensive farming methods - horse and plough, and manual tilling.
In another of Klutsis' characteristic diagonals, a modern scene occupies the foreground in which a huge paddock is ploughed by an enormous tractor and only a handful of agricultural workers. The tractor flies an impossibly large red banner.
Behind Stalin, there is another typical Klutsis motif - the sea of people, in this case peasants - streaming in as a surging tide towards the inevitable socialist future.
Stalin is lit by a red ray from the heavens, containing a quotation of his own words:
"At the end of the Five-Year Plan, Soviet collectivisation should be mostly finished. "( I. Stalin)
The green side bar contains a series of slogans:
For organisational and economic strengthening of the collective!
Dr Anita Pisch
Anita’s new, fully illustrated book, The personality cult of Stalin in Soviet posters, 1929 -1953, published by ANU Press, is available for free download here, and can also be purchased in hard copy from ANU Press.
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