Symposium Russian Avant-garde Revisited, Former West project.

14.03.2010. 3:00 p.m.
Van Abbemuseum. Eindhoven, The Netherlands.
Curated by Charles Esche.


Speakers at the symposium include Boris Groys, Tania Bruguera, Claire Bishop, Katherina Degot, Anton Vidokle, Peter Osborne and Bik Van der Pol.

The Van Abbemuseum is delighted to invite you to join the symposium Russian Avant-garde Revisited that will take place from on Saturday 13 March (3pm – 5pm) and Sunday 14 March 2010 (11am – 5pm) at the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven. 

The symposium is part of the long-term project FORMER WEST, which aims to investigate the influence of the end of the Cold War (in the year 1989) on contemporary Western culture. It takes place in the context ofVictory over the Sun, an exhibition that explores the designs of Lissitzky and Malevitch for the opera and also their work in UNOVIS, Vitebsk together with Chagall and others in the early years of the Soviet Union.

The symposium Russian Avant-garde Revisited will revisit the cultural history of Russia and other Eastern European countries in the 20th century, histories that still remain virtually unknown or misrepresented in the West due to a restricted flow of information on both sides of the Iron Curtain. 

While the Russian avant-garde is relatively well known in itself, the discussion will focus on the influence that its utopian projects continue to exert on contemporary culture. To what extent are contemporary art practices like participation art, installation art and socially engaged artistic projects influenced by the Russian avant-garde and their ideas of incorporating art into everyday reality? Is their attempt at the beginning of the last century to try to expand the notion of art in all directions still radical or valid? Is the drive to democratize the notions of art and artistic practices a precursor or future model for many similar artistic and theoretical investigations at the level of the quotidian today? How does this retrospectively relate to the later developments of socialist realism and recent political policies in which social inclusion has become a specific goal of policymakers?

Realized within the framework of FORMER WEST, a contemporary art research, education, publishing, and exhibition project (2008–2013), initiated and organized by BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht, the Netherlands, and generously supported by the Mondriaan Foundation, EU Culture Programme, European Cultural Foundation, and the City of Utrecht. FORMER WEST is initiated by Maria Hlavajova, artistic director BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht. It is curated by Charles Esche (curator, author, and director, Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven), Maria Hlavajova, and Kathrin Rhomberg (curator, Berlin Biennial 6, 2010) and developed with a dense network of researchers and partners. 

FORMER WEST is supported by the Mondriaan Foundation, EU Culture Programme, European Cultural Foundation, and the City of Utrecht.