PHOTOGRAPHER MONOGRAPHS

PUBLISHER
FUEL Publishing

BOOK FORMAT
Hardcover, 8 x 6.5 in. / 192 pgs / 200 color.

PUBLISHING STATUS
Pub Date
Forthcoming

DISTRIBUTION
D.A.P. Exclusive
Catalog: FALL 2017 p. 59   

PRODUCT DETAILS
ISBN 9780993191190 TRADE
List Price: $32.50 CDN $42.50

AVAILABILITY
Awaiting stock

BOOKSELLER TRADE ANNOTATION

From the creators of Soviet Bus Stops and the CCCP Cookbook comes this fun and quirky look at the strange ways of relaxation in the USSR.
  • Part spa and part medical institution, Soviet Sanatoriums were originally built in the 1920s for workers' holidays, courtesy of a state-funded voucher system. At their peak they were visited by millions of citizens across the USSR every year. From Armenia to Uzbekistan, and from crude-oil baths to radon water douches to stints in underground salt caves, these sanatorium are one of the stranger aspects of Soviet culture.
  • PROMOTION: Already an online sensation because its Kickstarter origins, this will receive the usual viral treatment across the web thanks to FUEL's huge international fan base.
  • ABOUT THE AUTHORS: Maryam Omidi has written for The Guardian, the Wall Street Journal Europe and Reuters. She was the Features Editor of The Calvert Journal, 2013-2015, an award-winning online magazine dedicated to contemporary art and culture in the New East.
  • THE PUBLISHERS & EDITORS: Damon Murray and Stephen Sorrell's imprint Fuel has been publishing books on Soviet culture since 2004 from the Russian Criminal Tattoo Encyclopaedia to Soviet Bus Stops.

Architecturally diverse and ideologically staunch, Soviet sanatoriums were intended to edify and invigorate

  

FUEL PUBLISHING

Holidays in Soviet Sanatoriums

By Maryam Omidi. Edited by Damon Murray, Stephen Sorrell.

Featured image is reproduced from 'Holidays in Soviet Sanatoriums.'

Architecturally diverse and ideologically staunch, Soviet sanatoriums were intended to edify and invigorate

Visiting a Soviet sanatorium is like stepping back in time. Originally built in the 1920s, they afforded workers a place to holiday, courtesy of a state-funded voucher system. At their peak they were visited by millions of citizens across the USSR every year. A combination of medical institution and spa, the era’s sanatoriums are among the most innovative buildings of their time.

Although aesthetically diverse, Soviet utopian values permeated every aspect of these structures; Western holidays were perceived as decadent. By contrast, sanatorium breaks were intended to edify and strengthen visitors: health professionals carefully monitored guests throughout their stay, so they could return to work with renewed vigor. Certain sanatoriums became known for their specialist treatments, such as crude-oil baths, radon water douches and stints in underground salt caves.

While today some sanatoriums are in critical states of decline, many are still fully operational and continue to offer their Soviet-era treatments to visitors. Using specially commissioned photographs by leading photographers of the post-Soviet territories, and texts by sanatorium expert Maryam Omidi, this book documents over 45 sanatoriums and their unconventional treatments. From Armenia to Uzbekistan, it represents the most comprehensive survey to date of this fascinating and previously overlooked Soviet institution.


Featured image is reproduced from 'Holidays in Soviet Sanatoriums.'

Holidays in Soviet Sanatoriums

STATUS: Forthcoming | 10/24/2017

This title is not yet published in the U.S. To pre-order or receive notice when the book is available, please email orders @ artbook.com

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FROM THE BOOK
Excerpt from the Introduction by Maryam Omidi

Soviet-era sanatoriums are among the most innovative, and sometimes most ornamental, buildings of their time—from Kyrgyzstan’s aurora, designed in the shape of a ship, to Druzhba, a Constructivist masterpiece on the Crimean shore that sparked rumors that a flying saucer had landed. Such buildings challenge the standard notion that architecture under communism was unsightly and drab. Sprinkled across the post-Soviet landscape, they survive in varying states of decay, with relatively few still in operation. But at their peak, these sanatoriums were visited by millions of citizens across the USSR each year, courtesy of the state.

The issue of free time greatly engaged Soviet leaders as they set out to define and shape the New Soviet man. Unlike western vacations, which Soviets perceived as vulgar pursuits characterized by conspicuous consumption and idleness, holidays in the USSR were decidedly purposeful. Their function was to provide rest and recuperation, so citizens could return to work with renewed diligence and productivity. The 1922 Labor code prescribed two weeks’ holiday a year for many workers and under Joseph Stalin the ‘right to rest’ was enshrined in the 1936 constitution for all citizens of the USSR. In line with Stalin’s First and Second Five-Year Plans, writes Johanna Geisler in The Soviet Sanatorium: Medicine, Nature and Mass Culture in Sochi, 1917–1991, rapid development of the industry meant that by 1939, 1,828 new sanatoriums with 239,000 beds had been built.

It was against this backdrop that the sanatorium holiday was born. A cross between medical institution and spa, the sanatorium formed an integral part of the Soviet political and social apparatus. They were designed in opposition to the decadence of European spa towns such as Baden-Baden or Karlovy Vary, as well as to the west’s bourgeois consumer practices. Every detail of sanatorium life, from architecture to entertainment, was intended to edify workers while encouraging communion with other guests and with nature. The approach was straightforward, advocating maximum rest, evidenced by the addition of a few extra pounds on departure, which was considered a sign of robust health. This was believed to deliver maximum post-sanatorium productivity, a notion that has persisted to this day. Writing in Club Red: Vacation Travel and the Soviet Dream, Diane Koenker notes that the Soviets were proud of their progressive treatment of workers; the French, wrote Health commissar Nikolai Semashko in 1923, had only one place of rest: the cemetery.

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