Lars Kleberg, Aleksei Semenko (eds.): Aksenov and the Environs (2012) [Russian, English]

31 August 2013, dusan

“Ivan Aleksandrovich Aksenov (1883-1935), critic, poet, and translator, was an outstanding representative of the Russian avant-garde art.

In the 1920s, Aksenov was close to the constructivists and worked in the theatre of Vsevolod Meyerhold, also serving as the dean of its directors’ school. Aksenov’s analysis of the problems of mis-en-scène, more geometrical than ideological, influenced a new generation of directors, headed by Sergei Eisenstein.

For different reasons, Ivan Aksenov’s life and works have remained unknown outside a small circle of initiated readers. During the Soviet era, he was soon marginalized because of his engineer’s view of art and his anti-ideological position. Later, specialised scholars ignored him, finding it too difficult to grasp his versatile personality, which was both original and representative of the multi-faceted Russian avant-garde movement.

This book of essays by authors from nine different countries sheds light on the writer’s extraordinary contribution to Russian culture.”

Contributions by Lars Kleberg, John Bowlt, Nicoletta Misler, and Janne Risum are in English.

Publisher Södertörns högskola, Huddinge, 2012
Södertörn Academic Studies 52
ISBN 9186069543, 9789186069544
242 pages
via DiVA Academic Archive

Aksenov at Russian Wikipedia


PDF, PDF (no images)

Louise O’Konor: Viking Eggeling, 1880-1925: Artist and Film-maker: Life and Work (1971)

31 August 2013, dusan

Louise O’Konor’s book is the first biography of Viking Eggeling, a Swedish avant-garde artist and filmmaker connected to dada, constructivism and abstract art and one of the pioneers of absolute film and visual music. The book is a result of 12 years of research in public and private archives in Europe and in the USA, and is a significant contribution to the history of dada and early abstract, animated film.

Translated by Catherine G. Sundström and Anne Bibby
Publisher Almqvist & Wiksell, Stockholm, 1971
299 pages
via DiVA Academic Archive

PDF (165 MB, updated on 2013-12-8)
Watch Eggeling’s Diagonale Symphonie (1924) on UbuWeb

Mikkel Bolt: The Suicide of the Avant-Garde (2009) [Danish]

31 August 2013, dusan

“A book – essay, cultural intervention, and potential debate-cooker – whose aim is to outline the historical avant-garde’s road to extinction and to ponder on the loss of grander political ambitions in innovative art today.” (Jesper Olsson)

En kritisk analyse – med udgangspunkt i surrealismen, George Bataille (Acéphale), Situationistisk Internationale og mellemkrigstidens europæiske kommunistpartier – af avantgardens selvforståelse. Mikkel Bolt undersøger også, hvordan idéen om revolution tager sig ud aktuelt.

Avantgardens selvmord
Publisher 28/6, Copenhagen, 2009
ISBN 9788792529039
109 pages
via forlaget286

review (Jesper Olsson, The Nordic Journal of Aesthetics, in English)



Malek Alloula: The Colonial Harem (1981/1986)

30 August 2013, dusan

“Malek Alloula takes the everyday object of postcard and shows how it was a classic locus of Orientalism, which has long been a phantasm of the West: ‘There is no phantasm, though, without sex and in this Orientalism .. a central figure emerges, the very embodiment of the obsession: the harem’. In Arabic, harim means forbidden and thus also refers to the women’s quarters of many Islamic households, which are forbidden to strange men. Embroidering from four centuries of stories concerning the Imperial harem in Istanbul, however, the Western imagination had transformed every harem into a hotbed of sensuality and sexuality. France colonized Algeria in 1830, an operation documented at the time by the artist Eugène Delacroix and later depicted by countless Orientalist artists, led by figures like Horace Vernet and Eugène Fromentin. In the first decades of the twentieth century, the fine art genre of the odalisque, or Oriental nude, was displaced by a flood of popular postcards depicting the algérienne, the Algerian woman.

Alloula, himself Algerian, studied this mass of now-discarded visual material in his classic study The Colonial [Harem] in which he wants to ‘return this immense postcard to its sender’, the French colonizer. He shows how the veiled Algerian woman was a provocation to the European photographer as her light clothing produced a ‘whiteout’ in the bright sun, a technical failure of the photograph to register strong differences of light and dark. The women’s peephole gaze from behind the veil recalls the photographer’s own gaze from behind the cloth of a tripod camera of the period and in a sense ‘the photographer feels photographed .. he is dispossessed of his own gaze‘. The response is to remove the obstacle to the gaze–to obliterate it, in Terry Smith’s terms–by raising the veil: ‘he will unveil the veil and give figural expression to the forbidden’. Thus from the seemingly innocent postcards showing a woman slightly lifting her veil to the popular image of a half-naked Algerian woman, there is hardly a step. The colonial gaze must see and make an exhibition of these women, which is then rendered as the aesthetic. The erotic effect, such as it is, is beside the point in this operation of colonial visualism.” (from Nicolas Mirzoeff, Visual Culture Reader, 2002, pp 475-476)

Originally published as Le Harem Colonial: Images d’un sous-érotisme, Editions Slatkine, Geneve-Paris, 1981
Translated by Myrna Godzich and Wlad Godzich
Introduction by Barbara Harlow
Publisher University of Minnesota Press, 1986
Theory and History of Literature series, Volume 21
ISBN 0719019079, 9780719019074
160 pages

review (Gregory K. Betts, Canadian Review of Comparative Literature)
review (Carlos Shloss, The New York Times)
review (Arlette Gautier, Les Cahiers du CEIMA, in French)
commentary (Jean-Noël Ferrié & Gilles Boëtsch, Annuaire de l’Afrique du Nord)



Lou Andreas-Salomé: The Freud Journal (1958/1964)

30 August 2013, dusan

Lou Andreas-Salomé (1861–1937) was a Russian-born psychoanalyst and author of studies on Nietzsche and Rilke.

In 1911, she participated in the International Psychoanalytic Congress in Weimar, and shortly after went to Vienna to undergo a training analysis with Freud. Written during the years 1912-1913, the journal begins with her participation in his Wednesday evening study group and Saturday evening lectures. Following her training, Salomé worked together with her friend the physician and analyst Viktor Tausk at Frankl-Hochwart’s clinic in Vienna and attended both the meetings of the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society and the discussion evenings hosted by Alfred Adler, all reflected in the diary.

Originally published as In der Schule bei Freud, 1958
Translated and With an Introduction by Stanley A. Leavy
Publisher Basic Books, New York, 1964
211 pages

review (Ban Wang, American Imago)
Salomé’s biography at
Salomé at Wikipedia

PDF (112 MB, no OCR)
See also Victor Tausk’s On the Origin of the “Influencing Machine” in Schizophrenia (1919/1933)

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