Cosmic Shift

Russian Contemporary Art Writing

Ilya and Emilia Kabakov, Boris Groys, Pavel Pepperstein, Dmitri Prigov, Anton Vidokle, Andrey Monastyrsky and Arseny Zhilyaev among many others
Edited by Elena Zaytseva and Alex Anikina
Foreword by Bart De Baere


The first anthology of Russian contemporary art writing to be published outside Russia, painting a vivid portrait of the country's cultural and political makeup.

A TLS Book of the Year 2017

In this, the first anthology of Russian contemporary art writing to be published outside Russia, many of the country’s most prominent contemporary artists, writers, philosophers, curators and historians come together to examine the region’s various movements of contemporary art, culture, and theory, from communism, cosmism and conceptualism to past and future futures.

With contributions from Barte de Baere, Boris Groys, Ilya and Emilia Kabakov, Anton Vidokle, Bogdan Mamonov, Pavel Pepperstein, Dmitri Prigov and Masha Sumnina amongst many others, this definitive collection reveals a compelling portrait of a vast and complex nation built on a contradicting dialectic between the material and the ideal and a culture battling its own histories and ideologies.

This book is published with the support of the Kosmos Foundation.
Several chapters are translated by Andrew Bromfield.

Author Bio

Ilya and Emilia Kabakov, Russian-born, US-based conceptual artists known for their pioneering large-scale environments and installations. Andrey Monastyrsky, who along with Illya Kabakov, pioneered the Moscow Conceptualism movement. Boris Groys, art critic, media theorist, and philosopher. Bart De Baere, Director of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Antwerp. Pavel Pepperstein, prominent author, painter and film maker. Dmitri Prigov, famous dissident writer and artist who died in 2007. Anton Vidokle, founder of e-flux. Arseny Zhilyaev, artist and author.


‘Fascinating ... packed with original essays, projects and even conceptual fiction.’
TLS Book of the Year 2017

With contributions from an impressive list of artists, curators, theorists and historians, this book offers an incredible insight into not only contemporary writing on Russian art but writing as art in Russia.’
Adrian George, previously curator at Tate, and author of The Curator’s Handbook

‘Theory and practice are brought together with clarity and conviction in this powerful selection of aesthetic statements.’
John Bowlt, Director, Institute of Modern Russian Culture

‘Zaytseva and Anikina’s comprehensive anthology illuminates the constellation of Russian art across realism and fantasy, Communism and Cosmism, orthodoxy and perpetual revolution.’
Gilda Williams, author of How to Write about Contemporary Art

‘Cosmism is the lure, when a revived mysticism is the order of the day. But this collection is more energetically eclectic than that. It provides a window into three generations of artists and critics – Soviet, Post-Soviet, and today.'
Peter Osborne, author of Anywhere or Not at All: Philosophy of Contemporary Art

‘Fascinating! More proof of the continued vibrancy of Russian art: modern, postmodern or cosmic, despite the fringe ideas increasingly becoming mainstream.’
Alena Ledeneva, Director, UCL FRINGE Centre

‘Long overdue, this anthology is the first to reveal the idiosyncratic and singular perspectives of leading contemporary artists from Russia. Together, the texts offer a portrait of creative resistance from what Bart de Baere calls “the virtually invisible center of the world”.’
Kate Fowle, Chief Curator, Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, Moscow

‘A fascinating collection of essays, full of stimulating paradoxes, which perfectly reflects the intensity of debate on the contemporary Russian art scene, as precarious in everyday life as it is majestic in its cosmic dreams.’
Ekaterina Degot, Alexander Rodchenko School of Photography and New Media, Moscow

‘An excellent initiative to shed light in the English speaking world on Russian writing about and by contemporary artists. It will help give them a broader audience and spark important cross-cultural debate.’
Andrew Jack, journalist for the Financial Times


Publication Date: 5 October 2017
536 pages

Product ISBNs: Paperback: 9781786993243
eBook ePub: 9781786993274
eBook PDF: 9781786993267
eBook Kindle: 9781786993281

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