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The People's Art School and Unovis in Vitebsk: An international conference organised by the Cambridge Courtauld Russian Art Centre (CCRAC) in collaboration with the Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven

When Apr 19, 2018 09:30 AM to
Apr 20, 2018 01:00 PM
Where Old Library, Pembroke College, University of Cambridge
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19 & 20 April 2018
Old Library, Pembroke College, University of Cambridge

An international conference organised by the Cambridge Courtauld Russian Art Centre (CCRAC) in collaboration with the Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven

This event is generously supported by In Artibus Foundation and Pembroke College, Cambridge.   

In the devastating years that followed 'Russia's 1917 October Revolution, a small provincial town in present-day Belarus witnessed the founding of a revolutionary new art school. At its helm was Marc Chagall, a native of Vitebsk newly returned from Paris, who was soon joined by fellow avangardisti in the form of Kazimir Malevich and El Lissitzky. Together with students and colleagues, and against the backdrop of a raging civil war, this exceptional group of artists elaborated a new path for artistic education and collective creativity that had a profound influence far beyond the boundaries of Vitebsk. 

This conference draws together senior academics and emerging junior scholars from Belarus, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Russia, the US and UK to consider anew this vital period – one that is often lost within the broader history of Russia’s celebrated avant-garde. With papers devoted to a wide range of media, from Russian-Jewish painting to porcelain and Suprematist ballet, this conference aims to reveal just what made a short-lived venture far from Russia’s artistic centres so innovative and far-reaching. In doing so, it poses new questions about three of the avant-garde’s most renowned artists and a revolutionary – at times fraught – collectivist principle that would shape artistic activity in a state soon to be renamed the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

For further details, please see the full synopsis and draft programme.

Click here for the conference website.

The People's Art School Programme-1

The People's Art School Programme-2