Balagan as Symbolic Chaos – Then and Now

  • David Elliott Vice-Director and Senior Curator of the Redtory Museum of Contemporary Art (RMCA) in Guangzhou, China
Keywords: ballets russes, commedia dell'arte, contemporary Russian art, grotesque, parody, political satire, Russian and Soviet theatre and art, Alexandre Benois, Aleksandr Blok, Carlo Gozzi, Vsevolod Meyerhold, Vaslav Nijinsky, Arthur Schnitzler, Igor Stravinsky, John Addington Symons


This essay is extracted from the publication that accompanied the exhibition BALAGAN!!! Contemporary Art from the Former Soviet Union and Other Mythical Places that was held at the
Max Liebermann Haus, Kühlhaus am Gleisdreieck and MOMENTUM in Kunstquartier Bethanien. Berlin in winter 2015. This examined the confluence between Russian art today and the critical attitudes of the pre-revolutionary and revolutionary artistic avant-gardesm in their attitudes towards power, order and symbolic chaos.