Our Notes & References
A pleasant example of the main issue of this great ‘magazine’, a famous publication of the first Russian avant-garde association. Founded in 1909 by St. Petersburg artists Mikhail Matiushin and Elena Guro, the Soiuz Molodezhi expanded quickly, with the help of the philanthropist Levkii Zheverzheev and artists Iosif Shkolnik and Eduard Spandikov. The association’s objectives were to acquaint its members with current trends in art, to develop their aesthetic tastes by practising drawing and painting together, as well as exchanging opinions on art. It organised exhibitions and united there the main Russian artists of this early 20th-c. and working in various artistic directions, from symbolism and Cezannism to futurism and non-objectivity: Mark Chagall, Vladimir Tatlin, Pavel Filonov, Iurii Annenkov, Natan Altman, David Burliuk, Olga Rozanova, Nadezhda Udaltsova and Aleksandra Exter to name a few.
Throughout almost ten years of its work, Soiuz molodezhi published various works, including three issues of an eponymous magazines. As opposed to the first two issues (published in April and June 1912), the present third issue is of larger format and contains more plates: 11 original full-page lithographs by Rozanova and Shkolnik, and an illustrated cover designed by the latter. It was the result of a collaboration with the literary and artistic futurist group Gilea [Hylaea], led by David Burliuk and Vladimir Maiakovskii, the most radical flank of Russian literary futurism, characterised by revolutionary rebellion and opposition to bourgeois aesthetic tastes. The magazine opens with a joint statement of both groups, followed by articles and poems by Rozanova, Matiushin, the Burliuk brothers, Benedikt Livshits, Aleksei Kruchenykh and Velimir Khlebnikov among others.
Gathering many of the great names of the Russian avant-garde, the issue gives an accurate example of the artists’ discourses and initiatives during the most prolific years of the movement.