Stories from Mayakovskaya Metro Station : the production/consumption of Stalinist monumental space, 1938
Mayakovskaya Metro station was opened to the general public on September 11, 1938. The underground platform was built by architect Aleksey Dushkin. It features a 35- mosaic cycle, designed by painter Aleksandr Deineka, as well as stainless steel and semiprecious stone ornamentation. In addition to being an integral part of Moscow's transport infrastructure, the site participated in Stalinist mass propaganda. Focusing on Mayakovskaya station, this study aims to establish theoretical tools in order to analyse Socialist Realist public art and monumental spaces constructed in a one-party state, under central planning. Borrowing from the field of cultural studies, it endeavours to sketch modes of interaction between Soviet public art and society, the production and consumption of Stalinist monumental space during 1938. Sophisticated conceptions of bodies, space, time, and the nature of representation are developed in order to fulfil these goals. Stories from Mayakovskaya also maps out possible interpretations of the representations existing in the station, following popular discourses available during the year the site was inaugurated. It places the Metro station and the iconography it contains in the context of the first two Five-Year Plans and the General Plan for the Socialist Reconstruction of Moscow. Finally, in proposing alternative stories, this thesis seeks to demonstrate the failure of the totalitarian model for the analysis of inter-war Stalinist art and material culture.