Avant-Garde Art in Ukraine, 1910–1930: Contested Memory

Avant-Garde Art in Ukraine, 1910–1930: Contested Memory


Myroslav Shkandrij

ISBN: 9781618119759 (hardcover)
Pages: approx. 200 pp.; 19 illus
Publication Date: June 2019


Many of the greatest avant-garde artists of the early twentieth century were Ukrainians or came from Ukraine. Whether living in Paris, St. Petersburg or Kyiv, they made major contributions to painting, sculpture, theatre, and film-making. Because their connection to Ukraine has seldom been explored, English-language readers are often unaware that figures such as Archipenko, Burliuk, Malevich, and Exter were inspired both by their country of origin and their links to compatriots. This book traces the avant-garde development from its pre-war years in Paris to the end of the 1920s in Kyiv. It includes chapters on the political dilemmas faced by this generation, the contribution of Jewish artists, and the work of several emblematic figures: Mykhailo Boichuk, David Burliuk, Kazimir Malevich, Vadym Meller, Ivan Kavaleridze, and Dziga Vertov.

Myroslav Shkandrij is Professor of Slavic Studies at the University of Manitoba. His previous books include Ukrainian Nationalism, Jews in Ukrainian Literature, and Russia and Ukraine. He has curated exhibitions on the avant-garde in the 1920s and written extensively on twentieth-century Ukraine.

Table of Contents


Introduction: The “Historic” Avant-Garde of 1910–1930

Forging the European Connection

1. Kyiv to Paris: Ukrainian Art in the European Avant-Garde, 1910–1930

Politics and Painting

2. Politics and the Ukrainian Avant-Garde

3. Political Posters 1919–1921 and the Boichuk School

4. Jews in the Artistic and Cultural Life of Ukraine in the 1920s

5. National Modernism in Post-Revolutionary Society: Ukrainian Renaissance and Jewish Revival, 1917–1930

Artists in the maelstrom: Five Case Studies

6. David Burliuk and Steppe as Avant-Garde Identity

7. Kazimir Malevich’s Autobiography and Art

8. Vadym Meller and Sources of Inspiration in Theatre Art

9. Ivan Kavaleridze’s Contested Identity

10. Dziga Vertov’s Enthusiasm, Kharkiv and Cultural Revolution

The Avant-Garde in Today’s Cultural Memory

11. Remembering the Avant-Garde