Cover Osteuropa 5/2019

In Osteuropa 5/2019

Subculture and the mainstream
Art and politics in Russia, 1989–2019

Lena Jonson

Deutsche Fassung


In Russia, an anti-liberal subculture from the 1990s has become the aesthetic and political mainstream. Liberal thinking and art with an emancipatory purpose have been pushed to the margins. In the fine arts, this development is reflected in the increasing importance of the successors to Timur Novikov’s New Academy, particularly Alexei Belyaev-Gintovt, who represent a New Realism that draws on the aesthetic of Socialist Realism and which extols the nationalist-imperial project of the Kremlin. The liberal performance art that during the 1990s was only indirectly political has become politicised, then criminalised and marginalised. These new style liberal artists avoid confrontation with the state. However, they perceive their art as a means for the ethical transformation of society.

(Osteuropa 5/2019, pp. 21–53)