The play ‘The Peasants’ (1927) is about a fictional collaboration between Bertolt Brecht and Kasimir Malevich in Berlin in 1927. The boundaries between the narrative of their encounter, the stage directions and the play itself are fluid. The publication contains a fragment of the script, historical source texts, photographs of the costumes, a sewing pattern and an insert.
The play is about the position of the peasants and the loss of their traditional structures through industrialisation and forced collectivisation during the Stalinist period. The costumes, made of both traditional and high-tech materials, quite literally reflect this historical background and the fictional encounter between Brecht and Malevich. The communist symbol of the sickle meets the fist, the symbol of resistance. Both symbols are incorporated into the costumes in a wide variety of ways using free, ornamental compositions. The act of appropriating and reassigning the symbols allows them to subvert the old political/historical attribution and create a new space for meaning.
The juxtaposition of the time periods makes reference not only to the complexity of wanting to understand culture solely against the backdrop of its own time but also to the impossibility of taking a step back from the present.