2 stenberg 2
Vladimir and Georgi Stenberg were born in Moscow. The first one was born in the last year of the 19th Century and the second in the first year of the 20th. Though their mother was Russian, they shared their father’s Swedish nationality until they were granted Soviet nationality in 1933. That same year Georgi was killed when the motorbike he was driving collided with a a tractor.
On finishing engineering and art in Moscow, they immediately began to work in favour of the revolution. As promoters of constructivism, they believed in using art for the people. The Stenberg brothers, disagreeing with the concept of “fine art”, did all kinds of artistic work: sculpture, train carriage design, architecture, theatre backdrops, clothes, shoes... Art had to be for the people. The new propaganda tools that were theatre and cinema were the brothers’ favourite however. Though they were young, they were especially skilled at different art forms. And that knowledge was masterfully shown in their main line of work: posters.
The poster was the cheapest and most practical way to get the message of the revolution through to a mainly illiterate population. The Stenberg brothers raised the art of poster work to its highest plain. As huge fans of cinema, they did the posters for many Soviet films (Einsestein, Vertov,...) and foreign movies ( Chaplin, Keaton...) brought to the USSR. Posters worked as a kind of trailer for the film. Their posters were full of small details that captured the essence of the film. As they knew photography technique, they used photo-montage and collage. In spite of what they look like, however, most of their posters are actually illustrations. They used the photo-montage technique to build up a draft and they then drew and painted the posters. Through this work method, they achieved some startling results. With constructivism as their starting point they shunned reality and did graphic work. They were innovators in many different fields: the distortion of perspective, photo-montage, light, movement, the dynamic use of colour, moulding typography, etc. From radicalism they created their very own style.
Poster art has never again achieved the effectiveness and importance it did in the Soviet Union. One of the reasons for that lies in the talent of those Soviet poster designers. The Stenberg brothers and their counterparts, changed poster art into an activity that was more than just an exercise in aesthetics. Just check out their work. The brothers’ work was signed 2 Stenberg 2, it is still totally vanguard in our opinion.