The First Words from October. The Rediscovery of Russian and East-European Avant-gardes in the Years of the Protest

Duccio Nobili, Ph.D.

My project aims to focus on the visual and critical reception of Russian and East-European constructivism in Italy and France from 1964 to 1978. In those years the more radical wings of the Italian and French Communist Parties started to feel a need to come back to the roots of communist culture, in a version not yet contaminated by the Stalinist totalitarianism (this operation was encouraged by the thaw of the political and cultural relationship between East and West during the Chruščëv administration). As a result, Russian Constructivism became, in the eyes of European communists, the only true revolutionary art that ever existed. Thus, writings, artworks, posters and portraits of artists from that avant-garde became to assume a pivotal role in Italian and French cultures at different levels: structuralist and aesthetic theories written in the Twenties were developed and used to offer a new and Marxist-driven alternative on modernist art criticism; on the other hand, artists found a new boost in the Russian and East-European visual culture to make their works more politically engaged. Furthermore, in the countercultural environments, these icons of October Revolution became a widespread model for design, typography and content of posters, tazebao and political statements.

Go to Editor View