Marginality as a space of freedom: some notes on the popularity of naïve art among Soviet painters in the 1960s and 1970s
This paper is dedicated to a special form of artistic statement, widely accepted among Soviet artists from the mid-1960s, that was provoked by a protest against the monopoly of academic art. Appeal to the heritage of naïve or folk masters helped professional artists to overcome the canons of Socialist Realism and to enrich their works with new ... subjects and heroes, often marginal and alien to the state ideology. The artists whose works are analyzed in this paper did not overtly criticize the Soviet state and its cultural policy, but invented their own imaginary worlds, and escaped into these worlds in their thoughts and in their works. Although this strategy appears rather passive, this paper assumes that by depicting and advocating new realities, free of official ideology and social norms, the artists questioned many Soviet conventions and, thus, enlarged and even erased their boundaries.
Original publication in
On_culture: the open journal for the study of culture 4 (2017)