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  • ANN: New Lecture Series: ‘Social Histories of the Russian Revolution’

    ANN: New Lecture Series:
    ‘Social Histories of the Russian Revolution’
    Birkbeck, University of London
    October 2016 - November 2017

    For further information, please visit:

    Full Programme
    Oct 27 – Steve Smith (University of Oxford): The Social History of the Russian Revolution and Civil War, 1917-1921
    Nov 24 – Brendan McGeever (Birkbeck, University of London): Antisemitism and Revolutionary Politics in the Russian Revolution, 1917-1919
    Dec 15 – Andy Willimott (Reading University): Living the Revolution: Urban Communes in 1920s Russia and the Invention of a Socialist Lifestyle

    Jan 26 – Sarah Badcock (Nottingham University): The 1917 Revolutions at Local Level
    Feb 23 – Katy Turton (Queens University, Belfast): Women in Revolt: the Female Experience of the 1917 Revolutions
    March 16 – George Gilbert (Southampton University): The Radical Right and the Russian Revolution
    March 30 –Dimitri Tolkatsch (University of Freiburg, Germany): The Ukrainian Peasant Insurgency in the Revolutionary Period
    April 27 – Chris Read (Warwick University): The Social History of the Revolutionary Period
    May 25 – Barbara Allen (La Salle University, USA): Alexander Shlyapnikov and the Russian Metalworkers in 1917
    June 29 – Don Filtzer (University of East London): The Working Class and the First Five-year Plan, 1928-32
    Sep 28 – Wendy Goldman (Carnegie Mellon University, USA): Taking Power: Remaking the Family, Levelling Wages, Planning the Economy
    Oct 12 – Lara Cook (University of York): Local Soviets in 1917-18 and their Relations with the Central Executive Committee
    Oct 26 – 1917 A Century On: A Debate (Speakers TBC, including Simon Pirani (author of The Russian Revolution in Retreat 1920-1924)
    Nov 23 – Gleb Albert (University of Zurich): Early Soviet Society and World Revolution, 1917-27

    All are welcome.

  • CFP: Forgotten Geographies in the Fin de Siècle, 1880-1920 (Birkbeck College, London; 8 – 9 July, 2016)

    Posted in: Academic, Art, Russian art-Dec 02, 2015Comments Off on CFP: Forgotten Geographies in the Fin de Siècle, 1880-1920
    Birkbeck College, London
    8 – 9 July, 2016

    Confirmed Keynote Speakers:
    Professor Regenia Gagnier (University of Exeter)
    Dr Olga Kirillova (National Pedagogical Dragomanov University, Kyiv)
    Dr Stefano Evangelista (Trinity College, University of Oxford)

    Recent years have seen an upsurge of interest in fin-de-siècle cultural studies and, in particular, in the growth of cosmopolitanism and internationalism in Europe during the 1880s and 1890s. This critical reception has tended to read British fin-de-siècle culture as a reflection of and reaction to specific European countries, mainly France. The wealth and variety of imperial and industrial Britain’s cross-cultural exchanges, however, has not been generally considered as a whole. British artists and writers of the 1880s and 1890s were avid travellers and readers who came in contact with a vast range of European cultures – Belgian, Bohemian, Greek, Norwegian, Russian, Spanish… As a way of escaping industrialisation and cultural homogenisation, or as a consequence of imperial politics, many artists and writers also interacted with further cultures, such as Chinese, Egyptian, Indian, Moroccan, and Turkish, to name but a few. British authors of the fin de siècle were undeniably influenced by French writing, but also by Scandinavian naturalists like Ibsen and Hamsun, and by the newly translated fiction of Turgenev and Tolstoy. Likewise, the impact and response to British art and literature in the international cultural community has yet to be explored. Anglomania was a distinct tendency among aesthetes in turn-of-the-century Hungary, Russia, Austria, Ukraine, and Poland, to name but a few. The promotion of British aestheticism was often seen by the locals as a step to modernisation and advancement of national artistic and literary tradition. English magazines, which facilitated revolutionary changes in publishing, design, and international networking, e.g. The Studio, The Yellow Book, The Savoy, were set as examples for the emerging culture of periodicals in Eastern Europe. The late Pre-Raphaelite movement, especially works and ideas of Burne-Jones and Watts, was also a powerful yet underappreciated influence on the development of Symbolism in Polish visual culture. As recent research questions the cultural segregation between East and West, challenging post-colonial assumptions about imperial hierarchy, and instead emphasising global networks of reciprocity, it is the intention of this conference to further expand this debate. By bringing together established and emerging scholars, we aim to reconsider the intellectual and national foundations of the British fin de siècle, assessing the role of other ‘forgotten’ cultures in the articulation of British cultural movements of the time. At the same time, we intend to unlock and reframe the perception of British authors abroad by explicating the reinvention of meaning of their work in different cultural, social, and political environments.

    We invite proposals for 20 minute papers on topics related to forgotten geographies in the fin de siècle, which may include, but are not limited to:

    • Dialectic between the cosmopolitan and the local/national
    • Non-traditional European identities
    • Non-European collaborative links of British cultural producers
    • Portrayals of difference in cosmopolitan literature and art
    • Cosmopolitan practices (travelling, translation, hospitality)
    • Modern cities as centres of transnational cultural exchange
    • Literary and artistic networks of the turn of the century
    • Fin-de-siècle cultural imperialism, aesthetic Orientalism
    • Mass culture and popularization of aestheticism

    Please email 300-word abstracts to by 20 December 2015.

  • Exhibition: UK/Raine (Saatchi Gallery, London; 24th November 2015 - 3rd January 2016)

    UK/raine is the first ever open competition for all emerging artists from the UK and Ukraine who are between the ages of 18-35. Worth GB£75,000 in prize money, the aim of the competition is to find and support the most imaginative and talented young artists, including students on BA and MA courses who live and work in the UK or Ukraine, or born in either country.

    Artists entered their work via the Saatchi Gallery’s website into one of five categories: installation, new media (including video and photography), painting, sculpture and street art. A shortlist of 30 artists (six from each category) are exhibiting their work over one entire floor at the Saatchi Gallery in an exhibition running from 24th November 2015 - 3rd January 2016. A winner from each of the categories, as well as an overall winner were selected by a renowned panel of international judges including: Johnson Chang - Co-founder Asia Art Archive, curator and Guest Professor of China Academy of Art (Hangzhou, China) and founder of Hanart TZ Gallery (Hong Kong), Nigel Hurst - Saatchi Gallery CEO, Prof. Dr. Apinan Poshyananda, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Culture, Thailand and Oleksandr Soloviov - Ukrainian author and curator. There was also a winner of a separate public vote. All winners were announced at the exhibition’s launch and VIP private view in London on 23rd November 2015.

  • Exhibitions: RECYCLE GROUP. KEEP ME UPDATED YOUR HOLINESS (Gazelli Art House, London; November 20, 2015 – January 10, 2016)

    Photo project in collaboration with Andrey Losev

    The exhibition Keep Me Updated Your Holiness, introduces Recycle Group’s, two latest bodies of work including ‘Conversion’, recently exhibited at the 56th Venice Biennale within the Church of Sant’Antonin and ‘Future Archaeology’ an on going body of work where the artists turn to history to address topical issues and aspects of contemporary lifestyle.

    Inspired by the stream of virtual information that flows endlessly, ‘Conversion’ compares the globalisation of information networks and our need for new technologies to the historic conversion of Christianity. Proposing the Internet as a new vehicle for faith, a belief system where advice on everyday problems, health and assistance with technical issues is sought online.

    As the introduction to the series within a much larger body of work titled ‘Future Archaeology’, the duo have created an interactive robotic figure, which assists the viewer with the viewing of a set series of fifteen photographs, individually selected by the robot.

  • Exhibition: EVGENIA ARBUGAEVA: ARCTIC STORIES (The Photographers' Gallery, London; 6 November 2015 - 16 January 2016)

    This is the first UK solo show of the award winning Russian artist, Evgenia Arbugaeva (b.1985. Russia). The exhibition will include two bodies of work Weather Man (2014) and Tiksi (2010).

    Weather Man is inspired by the solitary life of a meteorologist living on a remote peninsular in northern Russia. Having met Vyacheslav Korotki by chance on a journey through the artic, Arbugaeva remained at his outpost for two weeks, photographing his day-to-day life, unique surrounding and the isolation of his existence.

    Tiksi depicts Arbugaeva’s hometown, a Siberian settlement on the shore of the Arctic Ocean. Featuring ethereal images the series captures the light, landscape and spirit of the town through the personal story of Tanya, a young local girl.

  • Lectures: GRAD LECTURES IN RUSSIAN ART (GRAD Gallery, London; Nov 25 and Dec 2, 2015)

    Origins of the Russian Avant-Garde by John Bowlt, 25 November; Issue of forgery of Russian Avant-Garde, 2 December.

    The dramatic experiments in Russian art of the first half of 20th century constitute a primary contribution to the history of Modernism. The object of this cycle of lectures is to revisit these innovations and to place them in a comparative context — taking due account of concurrent philosophical doctrines, material culture, the literary and performing arts and socio-political change. We will look at the cultural as well as geographical boundaries of Russian art, and its contact with the developments in Western European art. Against the different political phases, we will examine and critically discuss the shifts in the cultural context as well as the development of different artistic movements in this most dramatic period in the history of Russian art.


  • Film screening: The Gospel Circle of Vassily Polenov (The Courtauld Institute of Art; November 26, 2015)

    The Gospel Circle of Vassily Polenov
    26 November 2015, 6pm
    The Courtauld Institute of Art

    A screening and discussion of The Gospel Circle of Vassily Polenov will take place at the Lecture Theatre, The Courtauld Institute of Art.

    Vassily Polenov was one of the most important Russian painters of the Peredvizhniki art movement in the late nineteenth century. He is remembered primarily for his sublime landscapes. However, the deeply religious Polenov considered the series of paintings on the life of Christ his most important work. He was the only Russian artist who made long trips to the Middle East to study nature and characters for his “Gospel Circle.”

    The film is directed by Elena Yakovich, with participation of the writer Alexander Ilichevsky. The producer of the film is the artist’s great-granddaughter, Natalya Polenova, founder of the Vassily Polenov Association.

    After the screening there will be a round-table discussion with Elena Yakovich, Alexander Ilichevsky, and Natalya Polenova, followed by a wine reception.

    Entrance is free but advance booking via The Courtauld Institute website is essential.

  • Exhibition: VLADISLAV EFIMOV. FRAGMENTS OF MOSCOW (Pushkin House, London; October 7 - November 4, 2015)

    Pushkin House in London is pleased to announce the opening of a site-specific installation Детали Москвы / Fragments of Moscow by Vladislav Efimov. This is the artist’s second show in the UK after successful exhibition “Safety factor” held by Ravenscourt Galleries on Cork street in 2011.

    The installation is based on an ongoing photography project started by Efimov in 2008, Детали Москвы, involving numerous images of the city.

    In this work for Pushkin House, detailed views of Moscow interact with the urban life of London. Translucent images fit into the frames of the original sash windows of Pushkin House, overlooking a busy Bloomsbury Square, to be viewed from the interior in daylight and from the exterior of the building at night. Inside, in the building, a historic London interior is transformed by hundreds of circular images of fragments of Moscow. Downstairs, a film shows 9,999 frames of Moscow images from the whole life of the project by Efimov.

    The installation reflects on the identity of Pushkin House as a London home for Russian art and culture. The current situation in some senses presents political challenge to the work of Pushkin House, and Efimov’s installation is an indirect reflection on this.

    Efimov’s cityscapes of Russia’s capital are not glossy expressions of patriotic pride. They reflect the casual, unsentimental view from the streets and pavements of a familiar, long-term Muscovite. The camera is held at waist level, creating images without distant horizons or wide perspectives. Often the eye of the camera is trained straight on to a brick wall, or on to an architectural detail on a marginal building. Just occasionally, there is a fragment of sky.

    There is no life depicted here: no people, no cats or dogs; even birds are excluded from these views of the city. Only architecture is in focus: not the architecture of strength and power, but the architecture of Moscow as it is experienced by people who live there. Efimov depicts the architecture of Moscow in its unsettling contrasts, seen all the more explicitly when ‘displaced’ into the context of Central London. We believe that the architecture of a city derives its forms from the ideas circulating in the society which lives there. How do we perceive the architecture of Moscow, viewed through the windows of a Queen Anne house in Bloomsbury?

    Vladislav Efimov is an internationally known Russian artist who works with photography, video and interactive installation. From 1994 to 2010 he worked in collaboration with Aristarkh Chernyshev. He teaches at the Rodchenko School of Photography, one of Moscow’s most important schools of contemporary art. He has participated in group shows in Russia and abroad and has had many personal exhibitions in galleries and museums in Moscow, St Petersburg and elsewhere in Europe. He was shortlisted for Kandinsky Prise in 2014 and won Innovatsiya Prize in 2009. His works are in the collections of the State Russian Museum in St Petersburg; the Beaubourg Centre in Paris; the Moscow Museum of Modern Art; the National Center for Contemporary Art (NCCA) in Moscow; the Neuer Berliner Kunstverein, and many private collections.

  • Exhibition: BOT by Erik Bulatov (3 Grafton Street, London; 6 October – 21 November, 2015)

    Considered to be one of the main founders of the Moscow conceptual school, Erik Bulatov returns to London for BOT, his first UK show since exhibiting at the ICA in 1989. Presented by Kasia Kulczyk and curated by de Pury de Pury, BOT will showcase Bulatov’s trademark style through a selection of more than 30 recent paintings, works on paper and some preparatory sketches. The exhibition comes at a time of renewed interest in Bulatov, who was recently commissioned to create two large-scale murals for the entrance hall of the new Garage Museum of Contemporary Art in Moscow. Erik Bulatov creates bold and colourful work that draws inspiration from Soviet symbols and propaganda. He believes that art exists in a space separate from our everyday lives, and recreates this delineation through illusion, perspective and the juxtaposition of ironic, humorous and political imagery and text. Bulatov’s subject matter can often be characterized by realistic depictions of landscapes, urban settings and figures that are overlaid by Soviet phrases written in large graphic lettering. His use of Cyrillic letters is comparable to some of the pioneers of the Russian avant-garde movement, such as Olga Rozanova or Maria Stepanowa.

    In 2013 Bulatov was given a retrospective by the Nouveau Musée National de Monaco, and in 2012 the American Friends of the Hermitage Museum honoured Bulatov and Jeff Koons as two artists of seminal importance in Russia and America. Bulatov’s work has been included in some of the most important exhibitions of 20th century Russian Art, including Russia! at the Guggenheim Museums in New York, USA (2005) and Bilbao, Spain (2006) and Contrepoint, l’art contemporain russe at the Musée du Louvre, Paris (2011).

    BOT will be the second exhibition presented by Kasia Kulczyk at 3 Grafton Street curated by de Pury de Pury, following a show of work by the Polish artist Wojciech Fangor in December 2014. The exhibition will be accompanied by a talk between Bulatov and Hans Ulrich Obrist on 5 October.

    Kasia Kulczyk says, “We are proud to be holding the first London exhibition since 1989 of the towering Russian artist of our time, Erik Bulatov. As was the case with our previous exhibition held at 3 Grafton Street, which was devoted to the great Polish artist, Wojciech Fangor, our passion is to show work by important Eastern European artists that had hitherto only little exposure in London.”

    Simon de Pury, co-founder of de Pury de Pury, says, “We are thrilled to be staging Erik Bulatov’s first exhibition in London since 1989. Ever since I first worked with his pieces while auctioneering for the groundbreaking 1988 Sotheby’s auction in Russia, which marked the first sale in the country since the 1917 revolution, I have loved his work. The first artwork I ever purchased was a Bulatov piece, and I consider his pieces to be bold and powerful while also subtle and refined.”

  • Exhibitions: Peripheral Visions: a Solo Exhibition of Olga Chernysheva (GRAD Gallery, London; October 2 — November 30 2015)

    A special project of the Sixth Moscow Biennale, Peripheral Visions is a solo exhibition from the internationally celebrated, Moscow-based artist Olga Chernysheva, curated by GRAD Director Elena Sudakova.

    A leading figure in the artistic generation of 1990s Moscow, internationally acclaimed artist Olga Chernysheva documents the interactions of people and objects with the structures and spaces of contemporary Russia. Her powerful images record strangers unselfconsciously navigating the practices of everyday life. Eschewing social criticism or judgement, she continues to document the people and objects that she feels are ignored by mainstream narratives. This exhibition highlights the power of an artistic ‘peripheral’ vision to broaden perceptions and bring attention to issues relegated to the margins of our everyday thought processes.