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Laboratory of Dreams: The Russian Avant-Garde and Cultural Experiment

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Drawing upon social history, material culture, and the sciences, this is the first interdisciplinary study of the Russian avant-garde, a brilliant constellation of personalities and ideas that changed the course of Russian culture just before and after the First World War. Though different in creative systems and applications, the artists and writers of the Russian avant-garde shared certain fundamental attitudes toward the purpose of culture, believing, for example, that art had the power to change "life," even ...
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Overview

Drawing upon social history, material culture, and the sciences, this is the first interdisciplinary study of the Russian avant-garde, a brilliant constellation of personalities and ideas that changed the course of Russian culture just before and after the First World War. Though different in creative systems and applications, the artists and writers of the Russian avant-garde shared certain fundamental attitudes toward the purpose of culture, believing, for example, that art had the power to change "life," even as defined by science. The essays discuss the many refractions of that common denominator, treating the avant-garde not as a purely artistic and literary movement, but as a multifarious phenomenon that included cultural experimentation normally considered beyond the confines of the avant-garde. In one way or another, all the contributors demonstrate that the artists and writers of the Russian avant-garde attempted to make the word flesh by restructuring human life, for the avant-garde not only generated new configurations of geometries and dissonant phonemes, but also heralded the transformations of the world by seeking to overcome physical, even biological barriers.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780804736527
  • Publisher: Stanford University Press
  • Publication date: 1/1/1996
  • Edition description: REPRINT
  • Pages: 380
  • Product dimensions: 6.06 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 0.85 (d)

Table of Contents

Note on Translitration, Russian Place Names, and Dates
Contributors
Introduction 1
The Transfiguration of Cannibals: Fedorov and the Avant-Garde 17
Body Beautiful: The Artistic Search for the Perfect Physique 37
Remaking the Bed: Utopia in Daily Life 59
Media Fantasies and Penetrating Vision: Some Links Between X Rays, the Microscope, and Film 81
Tsiolkovsky as a Moment in the Prehistory of the Avant-Garde 100
Toward an Exact Aesthetics: Pavel Florensky and the Russian Academy of Artistic Sciences 118
Development or Rebuilding: Views of Academician T. D. Lysenko in the Context of the Late Avant-Garde 133
The Sacred Profaned: Image and Word in the Paintings of Mikhail Larionov 153
The Profane Made Sacred: The Theology of the Oberiu Declaration 174
The Birth of Socialist Realism from the Spirit of the Russian Avant-Garde 193
Dmitrii Furmanov's Chapaev and the Aesthetics of the Russian Avant-Garde 219
Platonov, Socialist Realism, and the Legacy of the Avant-Garde 235
Eisenstein's Poetics: Dialogical or Totalitarian? 245
The Avant-Garde and the Retrospectivists as Players in the Evolution of Stalinist Culture 259
Notes 279
Index 343
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