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Russian Essays on Visual Culture

Translated by Alla Efimova and Lev Manovich
Fascinated by the myth of the Russian avant-garde and scornful of official art, the West has been selective in its engagement with Russian visual culture. Yet how do contemporary Russian scholars and critics themselves approach the history of visual culture in the former Soviet Union?

Taking its title from a Russian word that can refer to the ’texture" of life, painting, or writing, this anthology assembles thirteen key essays in art history and cultural theory by Russian-language writers. The essays erase boundaries between high and low, official and dissident, avant-garde and socialist realism, art and everyday life. Everything visual is deemed worthy of analysis, whether painting or propaganda banners, architecture or candy wrappers, mass celebrations or urban refuse.

Most of the essays appear here in English for the first time. The editors have selected works of the past twenty years by philosophers, literary critics, film scholars, and art historians. Also included are influential earlier essays by Mikhail Bakhtin, V. N. Voloshinov, and Sergei Eisenstein. Compiled for general readers and specialists alike, Tekstura is a valuable resource for anyone interested in Russian and Soviet cultural history or in new theoretical approaches to the visual.

264 pages | 15 halftones, 3 line drawings, 2 figures | 6 x 9 | © 1993

Art: Art Criticism

Table of Contents

Foreword, Stephen Bann
Object, Space, Culture: Introduction, Alla Efimova and Lev Manovich
1 The Study of Ideologies and Philosophy of Language, V. N. Voloshinov
2 Yermolova, Sergei Eisenstein
3 The Spacial Form of a Character, Mikhail Bakhtin
4 Painting and the Language of Theater: Notes on the Problem of Iconic Rhetoric, Yury Lotman
5 Movement—Immobility, Vladimir Paperny
6 Sots-Art, Zinovy Zinik
7 Public and Artist in Russia at the Turn of the Twentieth Century, Grigory Sternin
8 Stalinism as Aesthetic Phenomenon, Boris Groys
9 Transparency Painting: From Myth to Theater, Mikhail Yampolsky
10 Things and Words: Toward a Lyrical Museum, Mikhail Epshtein
11 The Ropes of Ilya Kabakov: An Experiment in Interpretation of a Conceptual Installation, Alexander Rappaport
12 Mass Celebrations in a Totalitarian System, Alexander Zakharov
13 Paper Architecture in the Age of the French Revolution, Gennady Revzin

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