Students of the Introduction to Visual Culture course visited an exhibition in the Open Society Archives, “The Symbols of Socialist Art”.
The “sickle and hammer”, or the “red star” are still well-known Communist symbols, but how can we read other images, like “Sun”, or “book” in the context of Communist imagery? In 1974, Hungarian art historian Nóra Aradi, the omnipotent guardian of Socialist Realism in Hungary, published a book entitled “The Symbols of Socialist Art”. Her aim was to collect the different meanings and usages of the symbols and icons of “Socialist Art”, thus providing a useful handbook both to the artists and to the audience. Her visual dictionary is a unique document of Socialist and Communist imagery that, a quarter century after the fall of Communism, may also serve as a visual aid, a tool in translating the past to newer generations who were born after 1989. – says art historian and curator of the show, Katalin Székely.