Red in the Eyes. Artists, Mass Culture and Russian Avant-garde in Italy, 1968–1977

Duccio Nobili, Ph.D.

This research project aims to rediscover the pervasive, and hitherto forgotten, presence of the imaginary and style developed during the Russian Revolution in Italian visual art and mass culture between the end of the Sixties and the Seventies. Specifically, it surveys the cultural agents that contributed to the diffusion of these images in Italy and focuses on the ways it was used for artistic and communicative purposes.   
My attention will be directed in a twofold direction: the Italian visual arts and mass culture. In the first case, I want to retrace the different ways Italian artists employed a certain style and images inspired by the Russian Revolution in their work. The reasons are many: formal issues, a desire for political engagement, or the necessity to identify themselves in the Italian cultural and artistic scene. In the second one particular attention will be given to underground and counter-cultural environments, to show the deep interest and usage that the students and counterculture movements made of the Russian avant-garde at the end of the Seventies. Such episodes have been neglected in art-historical and cultural studies of the period. This project aims to fill this gap.   
Finally, with a methodological perspective that brings together transnational exchange and deals with a wide range of cultural, visual, and political issues, the goal of this project is to explore an unknown chapter of the afterlife of Russian avant-garde and to add a pivotal key to a rounder comprehension of the Italian visual culture of the Seventies, particularly in its political entanglements.   

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