Russian history has undergone numerous social and political transformations that interrupted the development of its visual culture. However, as Kirill Svetlyakov shows in his presentation, the same cultural codes were repeated and reinterpreted all over again by different generations of icon painters and artists across the centuries:the transfiguration of matter into spirit, overcoming gravity, and egalitarianism, to name just a few. Moreover, for some of the artists, referencing pagan rituals, local folklore, Byzantine iconography, or non-European cults was a way to juxtapose oneself to the Western canon. This nonlinear approach, suggested by Svetlyakov, gives the keys to deciphering the hidden meanings and motifs behind Russian art history.
RECOMMENDED FURTHER READINGS:
1. A Guide to Russian art of the XX century at New Tretyakov gallery. Edited by Kirill Svetlyakov. Moscow: Paulsen, 2015.
2. Bowlt, John E. Russian Art of the Avant Garde: Theory and Criticism 1902–1934. New York: The Viking Press, 1976.
3. Bowlt, John E. Laboratory of Dreams: The Russian Avant-Garde & Cultural Experiment. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1999.
4. Gray, Camilla. The Russian Experiment in Art: 1863–1922. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1970.
5. Rudenstine, Angelica Zander. Russian Avant-Garde Art: The George Costakis Collection. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1981.
A HISTORY OF RUSSIAN CULTURE: ESSENTIALS
A series of seven lectures conducted by prominent Russian scholars in cinema, literature, visual art, theater, music, architecture, and design. Each of the speakers presents a broad authorial perspective on their respective fields and puts it in the wider cultural and social landscape. What distinguishes this crash course from others is that it highlights not only Western, but also Eastern influences, relations, and parallels. This series is held in English with Arabic subtitles and will be accompanied by the Russian Culture Manual. Participants: Kirill Adibekov, Alexei Vdovin, Kirill Svetlyakov, Valery Zolotukhin, Roman Nasonov, Anna Bronovitskaya, and Alexandra Sankova.