Harriman Institute

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Photomontages for Mayakovsky’s Poem “To the Workers of Kursk” by Yuri Rozhkov

Please join the Harriman Institute for an exhibit of photomontages by graphic artist Yuri Rozhkov. Curated by Aleksandar Bošković.

During the 1920s, Yuri Nikolaevich Rozhkov—a lesser-known and self-taught Russian graphic artist—made photomontages for several poems by Mayakovsky. While the whereabouts of many of these are unknown, 17 sheets of original photomontages for Mayakovsky’s poem “To the Workers of Kursk” are kept at the State Museum of Literature in Moscow. Rozhkov’s unique series of photomontages was inspired by the avant-garde energy of the poem and the geological discovery of the Kursk Magnetic Anomaly (KMA), the biggest iron-ore basin in the world. The series was first shown at the exhibition “20 Years of Vladimir Mayakovsky’s Work” in January 1930, which the poet himself curated. In the exhibition catalogue, Mayakovsky made note of Yuri Rozhkov’s work as “a temporary monument. Rozhkov’s montages. To be printed.” Two months after the exhibition Mayakovsky committed suicide and Rozhkov’s photomontages remained unpublished. The exhibition at Harriman will be showcasing the entire photomontage series, along with the booklet featuring translation of the poem and brief comments of this interesting monument of the epoch.

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