CALL FOR PAPERS // REVISITING RUSSIAN-SPEAKING ARTISTIC (E)MIGRATION, 1900–1939
The 20th century was marked by several significant migratory flows from the (former) Russian Empire, which resulted in many artists living and working abroad. These diverse relocations, subsumed under the term “Russian emigration”, were already present at the turn of the century, increased drastically after the Russian Revolutions of 1905 and especially 1917, and intensified further in the wake of the Second World War. To date, research on Russian-speaking communities abroad has been dominated by literary studies, with certain conceptions being extended to the field of art history. Arguing that there were significant differences in their (e)migration experiences based on the respective artistic medium, this workshop, in contrast, seeks to narrow the focus to visual artists. At the same time, it proposes to extend the time span from 1900 – thus including migratory flows before the “first emigration wave” – to 1939, before another wave of emigration was triggered as a result of the Second World War. Particular attention is to be paid to dynamic changes in migrant communities that may have occurred after the October Revolution (1917) and the Civil War (1917-1922).
Following METROMOD’s research focus on global metropolises as important destinations for exiled artists – in particular Bombay (now Mumbai), Buenos Aires, Istanbul, London, New York, and Shanghai – the workshop aims, furthermore, to highlight the geographic scope of Russian-speaking artistic migration beyond Europe and the USA. Of particular interest are “decentering” perspectives on migration from the (former) Russian Empire that explore important cities of arrival or transit, such as Istanbul, Cairo, Tunis, Shanghai, Tokyo, Rio de Janeiro or Bombay. By bringing together diverse case studies and comparative approaches (considering, for instance, the differences between such organizations as Unions of Russian Painters that were founded in several exile destinations), we seek to explore how different environments have shaped artistic ideas, production, networking, and institutionalizing. Key questions concern the reciprocal interactions between urban environments, migrant communities/exiled artists, and modern art: How did migrant/exiled artists come into contact with local cultures and aesthetics? How did the respective urban topographies affect artistic networking or communication? In turn, how have migrant/exiled artists shaped urban spaces? To what extent did their experiences in transit countries impact the development of modern art in the West after their relocation to destination cities like Berlin, Paris, or New York? Furthermore, the workshop seeks to shed light on the ethnocultural and religious diversity of these artists and thus illuminate the heterogeneity of migrant “communities”, challenging the notion of “Russian emigration”.
The workshop aims at rethinking, differentiating and better understanding the complex phenomenon of . . . READ MORE