Art During Communism

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Communist Art- Restraint or Challenge?

What is art without freedom? Is it limited, or can it be constrained to blossom? Communism, in spite of its limitations imposed on expression and actions of citizens, has many times delivered a true inspiration for artists. During such harsh times, one of the few ways of entertaining were subtle ironic attacks on the political leaders and on the difficult life. Hidden, still, from the view of the secret police or any official of the time. One of the characteristics of any communist regime is that of monopoly over all means of information. Namely, censorship. Therefore, art is totally under the control of the party-state, and as the ideology and the opinions of it are considered the absolute truth, everything that is published is thoroughly verified before being brought out. All ‘offensive’ details are disposed of, and others, in accordance with the ideology, are added. For instance, in the novel ‘Desculţ’ by Zaharia Stancu, the readers are offered a glimpse on how landlords oblige peasants to cover their mouth while working, in order not to eat grapes. These scenes were meant to create a pejorative image of the boyars and landowners, who would always exploit the workers, and thus blaming the ‘class enemies’ for treating the working class as such. Another aspect related to art in communism is what is called monopolization of the media. Through television programs and movies, the viewers are offered only one perspective on “values, policies, or public images”.[1] In the absence of another vision on the above-mentioned aspects, which would offer a comparison and a better representation on the facts, the audience believes what it is offered. Moreover, art in communist Romania pursued a chauvinist path. Especially throughout the 1980’s, all artistic means in general and literature in particular were emphasizing Romanian themes, therefore indirectly exhibiting anti-Semitism. Moreover, there were those...
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