Leftism is Maxim Velčovský’s statement on the meaning of monstrosity for the Lasvit Monster Collection. This ostensibly standard piece is a subversive take on the statue portraits of Lenin, the simultaneously feared and revered historical leader. Velčovský grew up in the 70’s and 80’s, which was a time when the communist regime attempted to promote the cult of Lenin by naming streets and stations after the Soviet revolutionary, exhibiting his portraits in public spaces or infusing school’s curriculum. The looming presence of the omnipresent Soviet icon, which represented a collective social anxiety and influenced his childhood, is challenged by Velčovský with the use of humour and his rebellious streak that does not take the imposed authority seriously. The symbol of the monumental political and public dimension of the oppressive totalitarian regime is diminished by a nuanced gesture in the form of subtle comic details. Since Lenin’s leftist sensibility is what formed him, the sculpture conspicuously bears this diagnosis: “both his left limbs are bigger. My Lenin suffers from malignant forms of leftism,“ explains Velčovský.
Monsters can have a human guise, yet their mind and ego strive for control of the world and they’re not afraid to deploy dangerous means in order to achieve their goals. The dream of true communism where everyone is equal is utopian in theory yet proves to be practically impossible. The October Revolution and its main “designer” left a colossal legacy that amounted to an immeasurable count of devastated lives. In order to deal with this historical atrocious impact on certain societies, Velčovský uses humour to process this past injustice. After all, humour is one of the most significant forms of resistance in Czech culture that was continuously harassed for over a century since the Austrian-Hungarian Empire.
The bright red Lenin statue will be executed using a demanding glassmaking technique of fused glass, which allows for a limited edition of 12 large pieces. The whimsical sculpture is also available in a small version as a protective amulet for every household.
The Lasvit Monster Collection is a curated project that explores the concept of monstrosity through the creative lens of a number of artists and designers. They interpret the meaning of monsters from various perspectives, ranging from personal or humorous means of dealing with the topic to probing and problematic cultural commentary. While each artist approaches the theme freely based on their experience and discipline, the curatorial idea proposed a sculptural expression, which resulted in a whimsical cabinet of curiosities.
The Lasvit Monster Collection was launched at the award-winning Monster Cabaret as part of the 2018 Milan Design Week.
Series: 12 Pieces
Monster Cabaret, Salone del Mobile Milano 2018