Victoria and Albert Museum

The world’s greatest museum of art and design

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Never talk to strangers

Never talk to strangers

This series of images are based on the complex and multilevel novel 'The Master and Margarita' by Mikhail Bulgakov. These illustrations are highly motivated by the themes of supernatural, playfulness and duality of the narrative. Written in 1940, the book actually was not published (due to censorship in the Soviet Union) until 1967. I was always fascinated by this novel, that stands out so vividly against an approved Socialist realism of that time. Starting with the very first chapter, 'Never talk to strangers' an ordinary scene of everyday Moscow transforms into a major chaos. The appearance of 'the stranger with a foreign accent' (Devil) and his retinue for some changes the rationalised way they see their life, for others, who blindly refuse to see the complexity and supernatural origin of life, it results in a punishment.

Are you going to say it was he [a man] who governed himself that way? Would it n