University of Toronto Professor Jordan Peterson has shared in an interview with Glenn Beck that he used to have over 250 pieces of Soviet-era art, mostly of a propagandistic nature, hanging all over his house.
He explained that one of the reasons for decorating his living space with the unusual and "pretty dark" décor was the fact that behind the propaganda, the art was actually beautiful. He further agreed with Beck's view that if "you don't understand the darkness, you can't really understand the light".
"My house was literally covered with paintings, every square inch, virtually ceiling as well, paintings everywhere. Technically, they were very sophisticated. And there was a battle between the propaganda and the art going on in the canvas all the time. That was really fascinating", Peterson said.
There was also a "comical" aspect to his collection, the academic confessed. He explained that these kinds of artefacts from the USSR used to be unobtainable, while nowadays anyone can buy it with just a few clicks.
"When I grew up, we never saw anything from the Soviet Union. I mean, that was just impossible. It was so comical to me that I could buy portraits of Marx on eBay […] I can buy a picture of [Vladimir] Lenin and [Karl] Marx on the most free market platform that's ever been devised for next to nothing, how could I pass that opportunity up", the professor said.
Peterson has since removed the images from the walls of his home, but still keeps his vast collection. He added in the interview that he is "obsessed with totalitarianism and the human capacity for atrocity" and keeps the Soviet works of art as a reminder "that all of this happened".