Conference « 1917-2017: Hundred Years of Russian Revolution in Art and Aesthetics » / Stockholm / October 19-21 2017

Färgfabriken, Södertörn University and Moderna Museet, Deadline :  April 24 2017.

The conference will bring together scholars and researchers from fields relating to the visual arts, cultural studies, media, and aesthetics to discuss questions about the relationship between art and Revolution in Russia.
 In October 2017 the world marks centenary of Russian Revolution. It is hard to overestimate its consequences both in Russia and worldwide, as it had influenced on further political, social and economic development globally. Revolution also affected cultural and artistic stances in Russia and in the world for many decades ahead.

Avant-garde artists met both February and October Revolutions with great appraise and enthusiasm. They developed visual language to translate Revolutionary ideals. The dismissal of Avant-garde by the state officials in the 1930-s revealed the complexity of relationship between the state and the artists as well as the conflict between the ideas of Russian modernism and the events that came after the Revolution. Apologists of Avant-garde always claimed universality of their working methods and independency of their aesthetics from any political parties. They argued for Revolution as a liberating power, and they inevitably faced disappointment in those reforms, to which they were contemporaries and witnesses. Meanwhile, their aesthetics was proclaimed by the state nearly counter-revolutionary, their working methods – as formalist and abstractive, detached from reality and thus were deprived of its legacy.

Today, the Revolution becomes a brand and a cultural hallmark that translates multiple memories and emotions. Its utopian ideas that had materialised into artistic practices still inspire new readings and translations. By organising this collaborative public event between higher educational institution and cultural organisations we call for public to reflect upon Russian Revolution and the art that it had inspired.

The goal of this conference is to rethink the relationships between art that existed in the time of Russian Revolution and those political events that influenced on its destiny; to reflect on the origins of Socialist Realism that proved its sustainability and legitimacy through the Soviet era; and to conceptualise the subsequent recycling of that art and aesthetics today. In other words, we want to discuss how Russian Revolution was reflected in art and aesthetics through the past 100 years and to map those discourses, trends and artistic developments in visual art, architecture, cinema and media that were born by, despite and in contrary to the Bolshevik Revolution both in Russia and worldwide.

During the conference we wish to challenge established academic paradigms both in Russia and internationally and to re-evaluate the relationships between art, aesthetics and media that existed during the Soviet period and the Revolution itself as a political, historical and social event.

Scholars and researchers from various fields relating to the visual arts, cultural studies, media, and aesthetics are invited to submit their proposals for the presentations that should consider but that are not necessarily restricted to the following key topics and themes of the conference:

Art and Ideology

  • Visual culture as ideological discourse
  • Visual culture: autonomous artistic expression or political instrument?
  • Revolution & authoritarianism and Revolution & conservatism in Russian visual culture: from Socialist Realism to the post-Soviet “Imperial Avant-Garde”

Art and Media:

  • Agency of different media in revolutionary representation
  • The role of media in revolutionary change and the use of media power
  • Representation of the Revolution in visual arts, and television: the challenge of the medium

Art and Politics:

  • Art as a product and consequence of Revolution and art as political practice
  • Preservation of legacy of the Revolution in architecture, visual arts and cinematograph
  • Revolutionary art and political propaganda

Art and Time:

  • Time and progress: Revolution and modernity.
  • Revolutionary theories of aesthetics: then and now
  • Resonances between Soviet and German art and aesthetics in the 1920s-30s.

Art and Everyday Life:

  • Role of art and Revolution in everyday life
  • The history of perceptions of revolutionary reality through art in 100 years
  • Russian Revolution as visual brand in fashion and design.

The conference is organized by the Center for Baltic and East European Studies (CBEES) and School of Culture and Education.

Organising committee:

Prof. Mark Bassin

Dr. Ekaterina Kalinina

PhD Candidate Irina Seits

Prof. Sven-Olov Wallenstein

Please send a 300 word abstract of your paper with a clear title, contact details and a 50 word bio to revolution.in.art2017@gmail.com as soon as possible but no later than on April 24th 2017.

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