Questioning History at the Wende Museum
|Pavel Bondarenko, Lenin Monument, 1954|
|Lenin busts, vase, and collector's plate, Hungary and Soviet Union|
"Questionable History" brings together two versions of a popular painting showing a girl applying for membership in a Stalinist youth group. One painting has a bust of Joe Stalin gazing over the proceedings like a benign uncle. In the other copy, the bust has been painted out, presumably after Stalin's 1953 death and demotion to unperson. The irony is that it was Stalin's minions who pioneered the art of airbrushing disgraced officials from photographs.
|Partly effaced figure of Nikita Khrushchev in unknown artist's Party Congress at the Kremlin, about 1958, Soviet Union (detail)|
Someone tried to scrape away the image of Nikita Khrushchev in a 1950s painting of him giving a speech at the Kremlin. This leaves Khrushchev as a transporter-malfunction wraith.
|Alexi Solodovnikov, Agricultural Worker, 1957|
|Laszlo Óvári, On Top of the World, no date, Hungary|
|Antal Béla Ádám, from the series Utopias After the War, 1953, Hungary|
"Questionable History" presents an uncanny rhyme to our present predicament, in which social media are taking us into into strange new territories of propaganda. We are finding that free speech and free markets, the quintessential liberal and neoliberal values, do not guarantee the victory of truth over falsehood. As many of the artists of "Questionable History" asked, where do we go from here?