You will prepare and submit a term paper on Beat the Whites with the Red Wedge poster by Lissitzky. Your paper should be a minimum of 1750 words in length. Significantly, the use of geometric shapes and colors in the poster, along with the great size of the work, guide the eyes of a viewer from left to right in the poster. In a focused and reflective visual analysis of the poster, the viewer becomes easily aware of most of the original purposes of the artist in creating this splendid work of art. In fact, the eyes of a careful viewer are first drawn to the large red triangle, followed by the white circle and the remaining black area neighboring the circle, and the text and the other inferior elements of the poster catch the attention of the viewer later on. A profound understanding of the historical, as well as the cultural context of the poster, has a vital role in realizing the artist’s original intention in producing this work of art. The poster is celebrated as one of the first abstract works by El Lissitzky and it offers a convincing illustration of the ‘binary’ approach, which juxtaposes the textual with the figurative. “The work itself, which was intended for political propaganda (the “Red Wedge” is the Red Army, and the “Whites” are the counter-revolutionaries), was also one of El Lissitzky’s first abstract works. The poster represents a paramount example… the ‘binary’ approach – here, the juxtaposition of the textual and the figurative – in which each element retains its individual significance, as in a binary opposition… The poster as a whole, besides being a work of political propaganda, thus exhibits an overt aesthetic function.” (Erjavec and Groĭs, 44) In a semiotic analysis of the poster, one recognizes that the textual aspect of the work becomes its form while the figures become the text of forms in the poster. On the one hand, one recognizes the deconstruction of letters and words in the poster, and, on the other, it is a magnificent figural work incorporating the signified as well as the graphism.
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