Futurist Battles and the First World War. Pavel Filonov between 1914 and 1919 (Summary)

Irina Pronina (PDF)

Numerous Russian avant-garde artists participated in the First World War. The era of the First World War began in the visual arts even before the first shot in Sarajevo with the futuristic opera Victory Over the Sun by Aleksei Kruchenykh and Kazimir Malevich staged in St Petersburg in 1913. Of particular significance was the visit of the Italian futurist Tomasso Marinetti to Russia in 1913. Marinetti had surprised the entire European continent with his loud and enthusiastic support of war and encouraged the military aspirations of Russian futurists. Filonov was one of them. Between 1914 and 1916, he made his most important paintings. Filonov’s war ended in 1918, when he returned from the front, not continuing his military career or becoming a Commissar of Art. Through these visual forms, Filonov likens historical events to the organic processes of cosmic life. He found a metaphor to demonstrate that war launches a new vital cycle by destroying the forms and foundations of the old world. The artist was convinced that war and revolution create forms of a new life from the pieces of what had been destroyed.

Keywords: Russia, Pavel Filonov, Tommaso Marinetti, Yuliya Arapova, memoirs