Charles Doria (ed.): Russian Samizdat Art (1986)

14 December 2018, dusan

An early survey of Soviet unofficial art. Illustrated with photographs and documentation of artists’ works.

Essays by Szymon Bojko, John E. Bowlt, Rimma & Valery Gerlovin.
Assembled by Rimma & Valery Gerlovin
Publisher Willis Locker & Owens Pub, New York, 1986
ISBN 0930279050, 9780930279059
210 pages

WorldCat

PDF (65 MB)
Internet Archive

Major Waldemar Fydrych: Lives of the Orange Men: A Biographical History of the Polish Orange Alternative Movement (2014)

22 April 2015, dusan

In Communist Poland, Surrealism Paints You!!!

Between 1981 and 1989 in Wroclaw Poland, in an atmosphere in which dissent was forbidden and martial law a reality, the art-activist Orange Alternative movement developed and deployed their “socialist sur-realism” in absurd street-painting and large-scale performances comprising tens of thousands of people dressed as dwarves, in an effort to destabilize the Communist government. It worked. Beginning with the ‘dialectical painting’ of dwarves onto the patches of white paint all over the city’s walls, which uncannily marked the censorship of opposition slogans, the group moved on to both stage happenings and over-enthusiastically embrace official Soviet festivals in a way that transformed both of these into mass expressions of dissent. They illegally restaged the mass spectacle of the storming of the Winter Palace on the anniversary of the October Revolution using their own homemade tanks; organized patriotic gatherings in which anyone waving red flags or wearing red (or eating red borscht, or covering oneself in ketchup) was arrested; and inspired other Orange Alternative groups to appear across the country. Although the group existed to the left of the mainstream opposition of Solidarity, their art was a key, acknowledged factor in the overthrow of the Communist government.

Lives of the Orange Men tells the story of the movement’s main protagonists, and is the first stand-alone English-language account of the Orange Alternative, written autobiographically by is central figure, and featuring an appendix of newly translated key texts including Major’s “Manifesto of Socialist Surrealism,” a timeline of every Orange Alternative happening, and a new foreword from the Yes Men.”

Foreword by the Yes Men
Edited by Gavin Grindon
Translated by David French
Publisher Minor Compositions, 2014
Open Access
ISBN 9781570272691
328 pages

Review: Stewart Home (ArtReview, 2014).

Publisher

PDF, PDF (3 MB)

See also other publications about the Orange Alternative

R. Bruce Elder: Harmony and Dissent: Film and Avant-garde Art Movements in the Early Twentieth Century (2008)

18 November 2013, dusan

“R. Bruce Elder argues that the authors of many of the manifestoes that announced in such lively ways the appearance of yet another artistic movement shared a common aspiration: they proposed to reformulate the visual, literary, and performing arts so that they might take on attributes of the cinema. The cinema, Elder argues, became, in the early decades of the twentieth century, a pivotal artistic force around which a remarkable variety and number of aesthetic forms took shape.

To demonstrate this, Elder begins with a wide-ranging discussion that opens up some broad topics concerning modernity’s cognitive (and perceptual) regime, with a view to establishing that a crisis within that regime engendered some peculiar, and highly questionable, epistemological beliefs and enthusiasms. Through this discussion, Elder advances the startling claim that a crisis of cognition precipitated by modernity engendered, by way of response, a peculiar sort of “pneumatic (spiritual) epistemology.” Elder then shows that early ideas of the cinema were strongly influenced by this pneumatic epistemology and uses this conception of the cinema to explain its pivotal role in shaping two key moments in early-twentieth-century art: the quest to bring forth a pure, “objectless” (non-representational) art and Russian Suprematism, Constructivism, and Productivism.”

Publisher Wilfrid Laurier University Press, Waterloo, 2008
ISBN 1554580285, 9781554580286
480 pages

Review (David Sterritt, Quarterly Review of Film and Video)

Publisher

PDF