This thesis is concerned with movements in Russia
during the first quarter of the twentieth-century, now
generally called "formalist". They comprise mainly Futurism,
Cubo-futurism, Rayonism, Suprematiem, Constructivism and
Productivism. These titles often extend to poetry, theatre,
film and architecture due to collaboration between art forms.
To be specifically considered is their relationship to
earlier Russian art; to Western European movements and to
philosophical ideas which conditioned artists' concepts of
reality and helped them formulate theories. The first part
of the thesis (Chapters I-XXI) describes mainly movements
before the 1917 revolution, and the second part, postrevolutionary art before the re-establishment of realism.
Russia and Italy were both witnessing rapid industrialisation and social change behind which politics and art were
lagging. The speed of modern inventions in industry, massproduction, aeroplanes and cars were seen by many Italian
and Russian artists as being the most relevant subjects to
inspire the art of the future. But Russian "Futurism" was
more concerned with "primitivism" while the Italians stressed
"dynamism". The thirteenth chapter discusses Marinetti's
visit to Russia which emphasised their differences. Artists
wishing to justify and explain new pictorial experiments
verbally adopted the example of revolutionary political
societies who published manifestoes and policy statements.
Chapter fifteen discusses the exhibitions "Tramway V"
and "0.10" held in 1915. Here the division between the
non-objective Suprematism of Malevich and Tatlin's
constructions with objects of real materials first became
obvious. It was out of a simplified Cubo-Futurism that
Suprematism emerged and after 1920 it extended to models in
an "architectonic" spirit while Tatlin's example was to
inspire real objects of engineering construction and production.