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Russian futurism and David Burliuk, 'The father of russian futurism'

21 June - 28 August 2000
The Benois Wing

Compared to its Western counterpart, Russian Futurism is a little-known phenomenon. Futurism was, however, an extremely significant movement in Russia, influencing both art (painting, graphic art, poetry and theatre) and public life. The Russian Futurists called themselves budetlyane - people of the future. Despite the seeming similarity between Russian and European Futurism, each national trend had its own peculiarities, based on local traditions and mentalities. One of the typical features of Russian Futurism was the blend of all possible styles and trends - "everythingism", as artist Ilya Zdanevich defined one of the leading artistic principles of Futurism. The problem of one common style did not exist. Many of the Futurist artists wrote poetry (Velimir Khlebnikov, Vladimir Mayakovsky, David Burliuk, Alexei Kruchenykh, Elena Guro) and music (Nikolai Kulbin, Vladimir Baranoff-RossinИ, Mikhail Matiushin). Almost all of them were given to theorising, publicity stunts and dramatic gestures. All this went hand-in-hand with their understanding of Futurism as an art form shaping the man of the future. The genre, the form or the style did not matter. As David Burliuk said: "Futurism is not a school, it is a new disposition." Natalia Goncharova, Mikhail Larionov, Kazimir Malevich, Pavel Filonov, Olga Rozanova, Nikolai Kulbin and Alexandra Exter all paid tribute to Futurism at certain points in their careers. David Burliuk, self-styled "father of Russian Futurism", stood at the centre of this galaxy of stars. Burliuk formulated the credo of Futurism as "the free representation of nature in the process of creative movement". The exhibition at the Russian Museum consisted of some two hundred works of art - painting, graphic, decorative and applied art, book graphics, archive documents and sculpture from the Russian Museum and private collections in the United States. David Burliuk's glass eye was also on display, as an original symbol of the Futurist perception of the world. The Russian Museum would like to express its gratitude to the members of David Burliuk's family for their assistance in organising the exhibition.