Experts and artisans at the 1937 Paris World's Fair : the case of the Soviet pavilion

Vol.3,No.3(2023)

Abstract
In 1937, at the International Exposition of Art and Technology in Modern Life in Paris, the Soviet pavilion featured a rich variety of arts, including handicrafts. This article explores the endeavors of the Scientific Research Institute of Art Industry to arrange a collection of Soviet crafts for international display. Throughout the article, the preparation work is contextualized in relation to the other cultural and political processes of the mid-1930s. It further highlights the role of the Institute's experts in translating the ideological guidelines of the Fair Committee into the language of artistic practice. Based on analysis of archival documents, the article argues that in addition to the short-term goals of preparing for the exhibition, the Institute used this opportunity to expand its network of contacts and establish closer links with artisans all around the Soviet Union. The co-operation of experts and the artisans during the preparatory phase helped to build a common ground for planning further reforms in the industry. Finally, the articles seeks to determine how the motivations of the collectives and individuals corresponded to the official goals and state narratives of the Soviet participation in the 1937 Paris World's Fair.

Keywords:
1937 Paris World's Fair; Soviet pavilion; Soviet crafts; Soviet cultural cano; Scientific Research Institute of Art Industry; experts; artisans
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