Link to Kickstarter project

 

Communism 100 years after the Russian Revolution – By Artist/Photographer Jan Banning

 

Red Utopia will be a beautifully executed art photo book documenting communist parties and their iconography in India, Italy, Nepal, Portugal and Russia, co-published by Nazraeli (US) and Ipso Facto (NL).

I think it is terrific and even better than Bureaucratics — so diverse.” Elisabeth Biondi, independent curator and former Visuals Editor of the New Yorker about the Red Utopia photo series.

For me (Jan Banning) – a non-party progressive – Red Utopia is a non-propagandistic search for what is left of communism, 100 years after the Russian Revolution. The book will contain photos of interiors of communist party offices: “museums of a future from the past,” as one young Italian communist said. It also presents environmental portraits of officials and activists in five countries: India, Italy, Nepal, Portugal and Russia.

CPI (Communist Party of India) Methala Village Committee office. The CPI is the second biggest party in the ruling LDF coalition in Kerala State.
CPI (Communist Party of India) Methala Village Committee office. The CPI is the second biggest party in the ruling LDF coalition in Kerala State.

Already before the Russian Revolution of 1917, communism was a source of inspiration for idealists and revolutionaries who sought a more just society. The struggle between communism and capitalism was a mayor theme in recent history, certainly between 1917 and 1989.

In its practice of Real Socialism, the communist ideology turned out to be surely less than ideal; the Moscow trials in the late 1930s already shocked many believers; and the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 seems to have delivered it a final blow. Neoliberalism, with its worshipping of the Free Market, now appears to be the only remaining ideology. Even most of the five remaining dictatorships of the proletariat are communist in name only. With the demise of this competing ideology, the need for capitalism with a human face has disappeared and the gap between rich and poor has widened in many countries. Since the crisis, which started in 2008, there has been a reappreciation of Karl Marx as a political economist and one may wonder: how dead is communism really?

Partito della Rifondazione Comunista, Circolo "7 Martiri", Castello, Venice, Italy.
Partito della Rifondazione Comunista, Circolo “7 Martiri”, Castello, Venice, Italy.

The book
Red Utopia will be published in October 2017, around the time of the hundredth anniversary of the Russian Revolution. In that same month, the exhibition will have its opening in Museum De Fundatie, Zwolle (NL). Later on, it will travel to other museums (e.g. talks with the Museo di Roma in Trastevere are in an advanced stage).
The book will contain (at least) 50 photos, size 24×30 cm (or bigger).

With Red Utopia I want to contribute to the debate on social politics and the division between rich and poor.

A selection from the series was nominated for the Zilveren Camera (best photo by a Dutch photographer) 2017. The Mondriaan Fund has contributed € 8,500 to the realization of this book.

After pledging your support, please help to spread the word about this project by sharing this link with your contacts.

Thank you very much for your help!

Link to Kickstarter project