Post-Soviet Graffiti: Free Speech in Authoritarian States (Paperback)

Post-Soviet Graffiti: Free Speech in Authoritarian States By Alexis Lerner Cover Image

Post-Soviet Graffiti: Free Speech in Authoritarian States (Paperback)



For more than a decade, Alexis Lerner combed the alleyways, underpasses, and public squares of cities once under communist rule, from Berlin in the west to Vladivostok in the east, recording thousands of cases of critical and satirical political street art and cataloging these artworks linguistically and thematically across space and time. Complemented by first-hand interviews with leading artists, activists, and politicians from across the region, Post-Soviet Graffiti provides theoretical reflection on public space as a site for political action, a semiotic reading of signs and symbols, and street art as a form of text.

The book answers the question of how we conceptualize avenues of dissent under authoritarian rule by showing how contemporary graffiti functions not only as a popular public aesthetic, but also as a mouthpiece of political sentiment, especially within the post-Soviet region and post-communist Europe. A purposefully anonymous and accessible artform, graffiti is an effective tool for circumventing censorship and expressing political views. This is especially true for marginalized populations and for those living in otherwise closed and censored states.

Post-Soviet Graffiti reveals that graffiti does not exist in a vacuum; rather, it can be read as a narrative about a place, the people who live there, and the things that matter to them.

Product Details ISBN: 9781487525422
ISBN-10: 1487525427
Publisher: University of Toronto Press
Publication Date: April 15th, 2024
Pages: 224
Language: English