Russian Avant-Garde

Russian Avant-Garde was a large wave of modern art that directly clashed with the state sponsored form of Socialist Realism. Beginning in the late 1800’s in Imperial Russia, the broader Avant-Garde topic included smaller movements such as Suprematism, Constructivism, and Russian Futurism  The movement reached its peak popularity during the Russian revolutions of 1917 and 1932. Many of the most popular artists emerged from the Ukraine area.

Futurism was an artistic movement that followed the principals of the “Manifesto of Futurism” which emphasized modernism and a rejection of the past. Prominent themes in these artworks included industry, machinery, violence, and youth.

The piece Revolution, (1917) is by David Burliuk who is also the co-author of A Slap in the Face of Public Taste which is said to be the start of the Russian Futurism movement. Burluik grew up in the Ukraine and trained at the Royal Academy in Munich. It is said the two things most important in Burluik’s life were his wife and his country. His focus was in art, architecture, and poetry, he was also involved in many art groups.

This piece is interesting because it features different shapes and textures. I believe the metal objects speak to the modernization and industry themes of the Russian Futurist movement. The title Revolution most likely has something to do with the figures at the bottom trying to kill each other.


2 Replies to “Russian Avant-Garde”

  1. I love the mixed media of that Burliuk piece you focused on. He really mixes the ordinary (metal nuts) with the artistic (paint) to express a new kind of perspective on the revolutionary future. Check back, though — the Socialist Realism is not a thing before the revolution. Maybe talk about how the Futurists opposed and made fun of the traditional aesthetics of the Realists?

  2. I find it super interesting that a lot of the artists that emerged from within this wave of art came from Ukraine. I feel a trend could be possible of artists that established themselves in areas under stress

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