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The Lesser-known Russian Avant-Garde


Julian Sunley and Lev Manovich


Over the past few years, I have had the fortune to attend a number of excellent exhibitions in Moscow on the 20th-century Russian avant-garde. After referencing the avant-garde in my work for many years (The Language of New Media used stills from Dziga Vertov’s 1929 film Man with a Film Camera to illustrate the new possibilities of computer media), it was very inspiring to learn about many new and lesser-known figures from the period at these exhibitions. I believe that many of these lesser-known but no less interesting figures will come as a discovery to some of you as well. (In some cases, I already knew about the people or projects, but the exhibition opened my eyes to fascinating details and connections that I want to share.)

Together with Julian Sunley we are writing a series of short essays based on these exhibitions. Typically these exhibitions don’t have published catalogs or big websites - and therefore we will be using the photos that I took at these exhibitions as the main source for our illustrations. Sources and materials for further reading can be found at the end of each essay.

Our first three essays cover The Central Institute of Labour (1920-1938), Museum of Painterly Culture (1920-1929) and Vhutemas (1920-1929).

Article  2020