1043 THE ARTS AND WORLD WAR ONE: CREATION, DESTRUCTION AND REVOLUTION
Dr Aneta Georgievska-Shine, lecturer, University of Maryland College Park, United States
The terrible power of war to unleash death and destruction has often, ironically, led to remarkable creative breakthroughs from artists, poets and composers. From the cubism of Picasso and Braque to the abstraction of Kandinsky – some of the most fascinating innovations in the visual arts came just prior to the outbreak of the First World War. As artists and writers were drafted or volunteered for service, they took these avant-garde ideas with them. Many of them lost their lives, or returned from the trenches with lifelong trauma. In the aftermath of the war, even those who were spared the battlefield experience became deeply disillusioned and created works that challenged traditional ideals about art and its ability to provide meaning in a world forever changed. Amidst this cycle of destruction and creation, the Russian Revolution of 1917 led to some of the boldest artistic experiments of the twentieth century by artists such as Mayakovsky, Malevich and Rodtschenko. This course will discuss the developments in the visual arts against the backdrop of World War One.
1. The romance of disaster
2. Casualties of the war and its aftermath
3. Witnesses and memory-keepers
4. Sifting through the shards
5. The Russian revolution and the great utopia