2017 has been the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution which can be considered one of the most important events that took place during the twentieth century. Aside from the political, social and economic impact, a parallel revolution took place in the creative sphere which lasted until the early 30s: the Russian avant-garde.

It was a wide trend whose beginning can be dated at the end of the nineteenth century but the peak creativity moment arrived with the October Revolution in 1917.

It comprised several movements, being suprematism and constructivism the most important. Suprematism was based on a more spiritual and esoteric concept, very linked to abstract art where Vassily Kandinsky was already making great developments. Constructivism was more practical and linked to the communist ideas: art should investigate and create results for mass production.

Art, design, architecture, photography, and fashion were areas which enjoyed a booming period of innovation and modernity. All of them were somehow interconnected. Artists were eclectic and could cover different forms of artistic expressions. The revolution tried to bring art closer to society, making it more democratic and useful for population

Artworks from artists such as Natalia Goncharova, Mihail Larionov, Alexandra Exter, Nikolai Suetin, Antonina Sofronova, Paul Mansouroff and Alexander Rodchenko are good examples of initiatives which were taking place during this period.

During the 20s – 30s, Western Europe was also living modern movements and Paris was the hub which attracted artists from other countries. Some Russian avant-garde artists moved to this city when the socialist realism artistic style started to become the “official art” and the only one accepted by the Russian government.

Russian avant-garde movement is an example of how talented people gather to create and innovate. It was an energy burst. Several groups of artists were created with the objective to investigate and to create parallel debates.

Pity that from 1932 onwards the government didn’t let these artists continue expressing freely. We don’t know how this artistic burst would have developed but I’m sure that more sub-styles would have flourished if the different groups of artists could have continued creating. Let the talent spread and you will see what could be the outcomes.

It is important to highlight the important role of women artists in the Russian avant-garde movement. They enjoyed the same level of recognition as men. This was an exception in a world, the arts, dominated by men.

After the death of Stalin in 1953, some artists began to create “in the shadow”, outside of the socialist realism style. This is the so-called non-conformist art which has also been considered the second wave of the avant-garde.

I guess that Russian avant-garde hasn’t been studied enough. There is still a lot to learn. If we could have a time machine it would be extremely interesting to go back to 1932 and let all that people have the opportunity for further experimenting. What happened during that period is only the iceberg of the potentiality of creativity.

I would be happy to exchange comments on this issue.