Saturday, 27 August 2011


This is the end elevation of the Mosselprom (The Moscow Association of Enterprises Processing Agro-Industrial Products) headquarters in central Moscow. When completed in 1924, to a design by David Kogan, at ten storeys it was one of the tallest buildings in the city. The painted advertisement was the work of Alexander Rodchenko and Vladimir Mayakovsky in the Soviet commercial Constructivist idiom. Mosselprom consumer products featured included cigarettes, beer, mineral water, biscuits, sweets and chocolate. Mayakovsky’s repeated slogan, “Nowhere else but in Mosselprom” rapidly assumed catch-phrase status among the Moscow public. The building is still in existence and the façade was renovated to its 1924 condition in 1997.

The image of Mosselprom was found in what appeared at first sight to be a conventional book, published in 1987, of tourist views of Moscow but closer examination revealed was an eclectic selection of paintings by Soviet artists of Moscow street scenes. Stylistically the paintings make few concessions to Modernism, often favouring a sub-Impressionist approach but despite this there are some fascinating images, a few of which are displayed here. Especially impressive is the painting of the pioneering female motorist taking on the city traffic in her open-top car but equally intriguing are the enigmatic images of a young woman carrying a large pane of glass and a bride and groom stepping forward into married life through the clutter of a city construction site.

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