Transition in Post-Soviet Art

The Collective Actions Group Before and After 1989
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Publication date: 
375 pages

The artistic tradition that emerged as a form of cultural resistance in the 1970s changed during the transition from socialism to capitalism. This volume presents the evolution of the Moscow-based conceptual artist group called Collective Actions, proposing it as a case-study for understanding the transformations that took place in Eastern European art after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Esanu introduces Moscow Conceptualism by performing a close examination of the Collective Actions group’s ten-volume publication Journeys Outside the City and of the Dictionary of Moscow Conceptualism. He analyzes above all the evolution of Collective Actions through ten consecutive phases, discussing changes that occur in each new volume of the Journeys. Compares the part of the Journeys produced in the Soviet period with those volumes assembled after the dissolution of the USSR. The concept of “transition” and the activities of Soros Centers for Contemporary Art are also analyzed.

List of Figures
Foreword by Boris Groys
Preface and Acknowledgements

Part I: A General Introduction to KD and Moscow Conceptualism

Chapter 1. A Bibliographic Overview
The Literature Before 1989
The Literature After 1989
The Consolidation of the Discursive Field of Moscow Conceptualism

Chapter 2. Mapping Moscow Conceptualism
The Attribute “Romantic”
The Central Concept of “Emptiness”

Part II: Transition: From KD to [KD]

Chapter 3. KD’s Journeys Before 1989
Volume I (1976–80): Appearance
Volume II (1980–83): Ten Appearances
Volume III (1983–85): Discussion
Volume IV (1985–87) and Volume V (1987–89)

Chapter 4. “During”: The Transition to Capitalism
Transition and Transitology
The Cultural Transition: The SCCA Model

Chapter 5. [KD]’s Journeys After 1989
Temporality of Transition
New Schizo- Terms in the Dictionary
Bracketed Totality: From KD to [KD]
From Numerology to Statistics
From Action to Installation
From Descriptions to Projects
Kievogorskoe Field: From No Man’s Land to Housing Development
A More Comfortable Journey: From Public to Private Transportation
The Democratization of Language

Afterword: From KD to [KD]: From Objectivation to Reification

Appendix: Dictionary of Moscow Conceptualism
Preface by Andrei Monastyrsky
Dictionary of Moscow Conceptualism (Main Section)

"Az 1970-es évek közepe óta működő moszkvai művészcsoport, a Kollektivnije Gyejsztvija (a. m. „kollektív akciók” tevékenységét tárja fel. Az ezzel foglalkozó eddigi legnagyobb szabású tudományos munka, amely végigkíséri a csoport történetét. Mindemellett a kötet alapvetően egy folyamatra, az 1989 utáni átmenetre fókuszálva vizsgálja a csoportot, vegyesen alkalmazva a kronologikus elbeszélést és különböző tematikus nézőpontokat. Esanu munkája nem a művészettörténeti iskolák valamelyikében, hanem a Reinhardt Koselleck-i eszmetörténet-írásban találja meg tudományos alapját. Nem hagyhatjuk figyelmen kívül azt sem, hogy a szöveg alapvetően művészettörténeti, azonban egy olyan művészettörténeti olvasatot kínál, amely az esztétikai, politikai és gazdasági tényezőket összefonódva tárgyalja."
"Eşanu’s analysis of the complicated discourse that defined the various stages of Collective Actions' artistic development uses twentieth-centurty sociological and philosophical theories, and elaborates on the topic - late Soviet and post-Soviet art in Russia - on which English language scholarship is still developing"
"Indeed, what Eşanu’s text has traced and described is the story of the gradual institutionalization of art, the co-opting of the avant-garde, which has been rehearsed time and again throughout the twentieth century. In his detailed and thoroughly supported analysis, Eşanu demonstrates how this played out in the Soviet and post- Soviet space in the work of one artistic group in particular—KD. This text is essential reading for those who wish to understand the dramatic changes that took place in the Soviet Union in the latter half of the twentieth century, providing a focused look at how these changes had a concrete and profound eff ect on artistic production, reception, and dissemination in Russia."