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Conference facts

When: 2017-10-19 17:00,2017-10-21 18:00

Where: Södertörn University, Färgfabriken, and Moderna Museet in Stockholm

Organiser: The conference is organised by the Centre for Baltic and East European Studies (CBEES) and the School of Culture and Education, Södertörn University.

Event language: English

Research linked to the Baltic region and Eastern Europe: Ja

1917-2017: Hundred Years of Russian Revolution in Art and Aesthetics

2017-10-19 17:00,2017-10-21 18:00
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.

1917-2017: Hundred Years of Russian Revolution in Art and Aesthetics

3 days conference at Färgfabriken, Södertörn University and Moderna Museet in Stockholm on October 19-21, 2017.

Mark Bassin, Ekaterina Kalinina, Irina Seits, Sven-Olov Wallenstein

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.

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 

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Conference outcomes:

The artistic performances will be reported at the webpage of Södertörn University’s in-house journal Baltic Worlds. Selected essays will be published in the edited volume and as the special issue of Baltic Worlds.


Irina Seits
Ekaterina Kalinina

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