Authors : Anatolii V. Rykov
Abstract: The study examines the construction of ethnic/national/racial identities within the avant-garde movement. Nikolay Punin, art critic and one of the main representatives of the Russian modernism, contributed a lot to the development of this distinctive art construct, conflating political, cultural and artistic discourses in his numerous writings. Against Civilization by Eugeny Poletayev and Nikolay Punins considered in this context as a unique example of the Soviet proto-fascist utopia that combined futuristic, socialist and racist ideas. The key tropes contained in Punins art criticism (his theory of formalism as imperialism, for instance) have their origin in this tract. The form as a distinct concept in Punins rhetorical system symbolized the freedom from human, all too human with techno-organic and sacral connotations. Unintelligible and invulnerable artistic form is interpreted as an expression of a nations will to power, a weapon in the imperialist struggle. Special attention is paid to the sacral connotations in the Poletayev and Punins theoretical project and the concept of palingenesis. The tract by Poletayev and Punin is interpreted as an example of the non-Marxist socialist theory, closely connected with the ideas of the German Conservative Revolution. Nikolay Punins conception of the Russian identity (and his theory of the Russian imperialism) is regarded in the light of the avant-garde theoretical heritage.
Anatolii V. Rykov , 2016. Nikolay Punins Views on Art and Politics in the Early Soviet Period. The Social Sciences, 11: 4745-4750.