Red Utopia


Communism 100 years after the Russian Revolution


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“The opinion that art should have nothing to do with politics is itself a political attitude.” – George Orwell

Red Utopia will be a beautifully executed big format art photo book documenting communist parties and their iconography in India, Italy, Nepal, Portugal and Russia,
It will contain some 65 photos.

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.

For more than a century, 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?

The book

Red Utopia will be published on October 14, 2017, in Odeon, Zwolle, Netherlands.

Also on October 14, the exhibition will have its opening in Museum De Fundatie, Zwolle (NL). In 2018, it will travel to other museums (such as the Museo di Roma in Trastevere, Rome, Italy).

About the photos:

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.

PRICE (excluding shipping costs): € 49.95

ISBN: 978-15-90054-67-3

Format: 280 x 370 mm = 11 x 14.5 inch

Design: Peter Jonker

Publisher: Ipso Facto, NL and Nazraeli, CA, US  (co-published)

Language: English

The book can be ordered at


Visit the page with a short film about the project