Throughout 2017/2018 together with artist Dora García, curator Maria Lind and writer Michele Masucci we embarked on a year-long research around the legacy of Alexandra Kollontai, who was a prominent Russian revolutionary, a commissar of Social Welfare after the October revolution in 1917, and later a long-term Soviet Ambassador to Sweden. She introduced abortion rights, secularised marriage, and provided paid maternity leave. Kollontai considered “comradely love” to be an important political force, elemental in shaping social bonds beyond the limitations of property relations.
A year full of seminars, trips, readings and encounters culminated in a collective publication Red Love: A Reader on Aleksandra Kollontai co-published by Sternberg Press, as well as Dora García’s exhibition Red Love at Tensta konsthall, for which CuratorLab prepared a related public programing. Through the book, the encounters with many artists and thinkers we revisited Kollontai’s ideas on the politics of love and their relation to current political, social and feminist struggles. CuratorLab projects seeked to address the on-going relevance of Kollontai’s thought, and the increasingly complex sphere of love relations in advanced capitalism. We asked if there is a place for Kollontai’s vision of comradely love today and how could it be formed? The publication also includes the biographical play Kollontai from 1977 by distinguished Swedish writer Agneta Pleijel.