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SLOVO Journal


The blog of the postgraduate journal at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies


Iglika Grebenarova: Revolution

By Borimir S Totev, on 17 July 2017

Iglika Grebenarova, author of the film review for ‘Revolution: New Art for a New World’.

Iglika is a student at the New York University, majoring in International Relations and minoring in Cinema Studies, set to graduate in May of 2018. She is passionate about European affairs, and the intersection between cinema and politics, as well as art’s ability to both reflect and form ideological discourse. As well as being an intern at the Ayn Rand Institute in June 2015, Iglika has interned for the Bulgarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Center for the Study of Democracy. Other parts of Iglika Grebenarova’s research has previously focused on 60’s European cinema, Romanian New Wave, and Film Festival Politics.

In her film review for SLOVO Journal, Iglika focuses on Director Margy Kinmonth’s latest film as the pinnacle of her exploration of the secrets of Russian art spanning over more than three decades. Revolution: New Art for a New World is a spectacular documentary made to commemorate the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 and to demonstrate the crucial importance of art for the creation of the new regime. With the remarkable breadth and depth of its scope, the film creates an exhilarating depiction of one of modern history’s most tumultuous periods and immerses its viewers into the inseparable mixture of art and politics that shaped humanity’s future for decades to come.

The film review for ‘Revolution: New Art for a New World by Iglika Grebenarova (New York University, NYC) was published in SLOVO Journal, VOL 29.1, and can be read in full here.

Posted by Borimir Totev, Executive Editor of SLOVO Journal




Ksenia Pavlenko: A Pause in Peripheral Perspectives

By Borimir S Totev, on 15 July 2017

Ksenia Pavlenko, author of ‘A Pause in Peripheral Perspectives: Sergei Diaghilev’s 1898 Exhibition of Russian and Finnish Art’.

Ksenia is the Website and Social Media Manager and a member of the Advisory Board for the Cambridge Courtauld Russian Art Centre. She is an MPhil candidate in History of Art at the University of Cambridge, supervised by Dr. Rosalind Polly Blakesley, researching the visual culture of Finland as a Grand Duchy of the Russian Empire. Her studies extend from the establishment of Helsinki as a capital city in the early nineteenth century, to Finnish participation in early twentieth century artistic developments on an international scale. Ksenia completed her BA in History of Art and English Literature at the City University of New York in 2013, after which she worked for institutions such at the International Center of Photography and American Federation of Arts.

Ksenia’s SLOVO Journal article examines three years of monumental change in Finnish-Russian cultural relations at the fin de siècle. The territory of Finland had enjoyed autonomy and economic development for the greater part of the nineteenth century as a Grand Duchy of the Russian Empire. Sergei Diaghilev’s 1898 Exhibition of Russian and Finnish Art exemplifies how this positive dynamic began to manifest itself in transcultural exchange. Diaghilev sought for Russia’s creative circles to follow the Finnish example of engaging with Western European artistic developments while refining a distinct national vision. Such a dynamic would have appeased imperial interests in promoting its Russian heritage while allowing Finns to continue to express their distinct culture. The Russification Programme, initiated in 1899, changed an amicable relationship between the Russian Empire and its Finnish territory to one of oppression. The rich cultural heritage Finnish intellectuals had developed throughout the nineteenth century was quickly mobilised to resist imperial oppression, exemplified in the Finnish Pavilion at the 1900 Paris Exposition Universelle. The collaborative potential of Diaghilev’s 1898 exhibition was replaced by a resounding call for Finnish autonomy at the 1900 Finish Pavilion. The period of 1898-1900 demonstrates how quickly Finland’s embrace of nineteenth-century nationalism transformed from a cultural blossoming to a politicised quest for autonomy.

The article ‘A Pause in Peripheral Perspectives: Sergei Diaghilev’s 1898 Exhibition of Russian and Finnish Art’ by Ksenia Pavlenko (University of Cambridge) was published in SLOVO Journal, VOL 29.1, and can be read in full here.

Posted by Borimir Totev, Executive Editor of SLOVO Journal




So Far, So Good, So SLOVO

By Borimir S Totev, on 17 April 2017

Screen Shot 2017-04-18 at 10.57.27 am

Today the Royal Academy of Arts ends its exhibition on Russian art in the period of 1917-1932. The much celebrated works of Malevich, Petrov-Vodkin, Kandinsky, and Chagall, amongst many others, remained open to visitors of the Main Galleries for more than two months. Back in February, SLOVO Journal was invited to the Press Viewing of the exhibition supplemented by a tour with the curators Ann Dumas, Dr Natalia Murray, and Professor John Milner.


The Press Viewing of ‘Revolution: Russian art 1917-1932’ at the RA

It was made obvious to me then, that a season of appreciating Russian art was slowly about to unravel in our country’s capital, and with its cultural calendar London fully embraced the task of marking one of the most profound and consequential moments in world history. However, much in contrary to what some critiques suggest about the centenary of the Russian Revolution, I contend that its acknowledgment here was done elegantly, with an accurate awareness of history and its plights.

We are now almost half way through the year. So far, so good. Fear not, there is still plenty out there to see, explore, and read on the topic of all things Russian.

For starters, if you haven’t done so already, make sure to read through the latest issue of SLOVO Journal available online, or rummage through our collection of electronic archives. For nearly three decades we have provided a platform for the publication of promising academic work covering the Russian, Post-Soviet, Central & East European regions. In VOL 29.1 published in January this year, our authors covered intellectually stimulating explorations of human testaments to past events and cultural relations, as well as the more contemporary topics of online activism in Russia and the revival of populism in Europe.

There is still some time left before our 1st May deadline to submit your own papers and reviews for consideration. The publication of VOL 29.2 will complete our annual run marking the centenary year of the Russian Revolution and will be published around the autumn season of 2017.


SLOVO Journal’s Call for Papers

Don’t forget to keep an eye out for the events that are constantly taking place at UCL’s School of Slavonic and East European Studies. Back in March, SLOVO Journal screened the feature documentary ‘Revolution: New Art for a New World’ as part of SSEES’s events calendar, hosting BAFTA Award wining filmmaker Mary Kinmonth.


SLOVO Journal organised screening of ‘Revolution: New Art for a New World’


Executive Editor Borimir Totev (left) in conversation with Director Margy Kinmonth (right)

What else is left? Plenty. The Design Museum is in the middle of its ‘Imagine Moscow’ exhibition exploring Moscow as it was imagined by a new generation of bold and creative architects and designers. The launch of the new book ‘The Sixth Sense of the Avant-Garde: Dance, Kinaesthesia and the arts in Revolutionary Russia’ by Irina Sirotkina and Roger Smith will take place on the 18th May at the Calvert 22 Bookshop. Film fans can look forward to the screening of Sergei Eisenstein’s 1928 cinematic masterpiece, ‘October: Ten Days that Shook the World’ with a live orchestral accompaniment at the Barbican on the 26th October. Tate Modern is still only getting ready to join the wave of exhibitions with its own ‘Red Star Over Russia’ covering artworks from five decades, between 1905 and Stalin’s death in 1953, opening on the 8th November. In the meantime, you can always head to Pushkin House or the Gallery for Russian Art and Design (GRAD) and discover what’s on schedule there.


By Borimir Totev, Executive Editor of SLOVO Journal



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