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Conference “The destinies of abstraсt expressionism” (Moscow, October 11-13, 2018)



For the Centenary of Guy de Montlaur’s Birth (1918–1977)

October 11th, 12th and 13th, 2018


– Department of Art Theory and History (RSUH, Moscow, Russia)

– Department of Cinema and Contemporary Art (RSUH, Moscow, Russia)


– Union of Asian Artists in France (UAAF, Paris, France)

– Institute for Graduate Studies in Arts (IESA arts & culture, Paris, France)

Organizing Committee:

Prof. Limanskaya Lioudmila, D.Sc., Head of the Department of Art Theory and History (RSUH, Moscow, Russia)

Prof. Kolotayev Vladimir, D.Sc., Dean of the Faculty of Art History, Head of the Department of Cinema and Contemporary Art (RSUH, Moscow, Russia)

Prof. Markov Alexander, D.Sc., Department of Cinema and Contemporary Art, Vice-Dean for Science and Research Work (RGGU, Moscou, Russie)

– Avtonomova Natalia, Honored Worker of Arts of Russian Federation, Head of the Department of Personal Collections, Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts (Moscow, Russia)

– Chudetskaya Anna, PhD, Senior Lecturer of the Department of Theory and History, RSUH ; Leading Researcher of the Department of Personal Collections, Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts (Moscow, Russia)

– Khripkova Elena, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Art Theory and History (RSUH, Moscow, Russia)

Prof. Zaguidoullina Marina, D.Sc., Department of Journalism and Mass Communication (Chelyabinsk State University, Chelyabinsk, Russia)

– Deyneka Evelina, MD, PhD, Doctoral Student,  Member of the Laboratory “Literature, Histories, Aesthetics” (University Paris 8 Vincennes – Saint-Denis, Paris, France)

– de Montlaur George, PhD, Guy de Montlaur’s Personal Collection Owner, Artist’s Family Representative (Montpellier, France)

– He Yuhong, President of the Union of Asian Artists in France (UAAF, Paris, France)

Prof. Bloess Georges, D.Sc., Ex-Emeritus Professor of the University Paris 8 Vincennes – Saint-Denis, Independent Researcher (Paris, France)

– Grebille Boris, Director of the Institute for Graduate Studies in Arts (IESA arts & culture, Paris, France)

Abstraction and expression are apparently as diametrical concepts as logical thought and figurative thought. It is not by chance that such internally contradictory form, harmonious by dissonance, as “abstract expressionism” that began at the decline of German Expressionism of the 1920s, finds its extension in the works of Wassily Kandinsky, master of pictorial counterpoint. The subsequent destiny of this trend in Europe in the 1940s is closely linked to the psychoanalytic concept of “automatic writing” by André Breton, theoretician of French surrealism. In the post-war years, in the United States, abstract expressionism becomes the instrument of the “cold war” in its struggle against Soviet socialist realism, the symbol of the creative expressions of “freedom of the individual”. In the years 1950-1980, in the USSR, it is naturally perceived as a protest “unofficial” art. From the 1970s, after the end of the wars in Korea and Vietnam, abstract expressionism continued its triumphal march towards the East, to abstract movements of the Shanghai and Beijing schools of Chinese painting, which had already become canonical. Since its creation, Abstract Expressionism has oscillated ceaselessly between pure abstraction and the elements of figurativity, between the total objectlessness and vague outlines of reality. The essential principle of Expressionism and the central moment of Wassily Kandinsky’s teachings – the representation of an “inner necessity” rather than objects of the surrounding world – here, finally, has been elevated to the absolute.

Guy de Montlaur (1918-1977), French expressionist painter, legendary participant to the Resistance (please see the artist’s biography and paintings on the website, in Wikipedia, and in the Virtual Museum). His painting, like a prism, refracts the experimental quest of European artists of the first third of the twentieth century, the atmosphere of the Second World War in France, the spirit of American post-war art schools. In the mirror of his works, we propose to consider the following topics:

* ways of developing Expressionism in Western and Eastern countries, on the American continent, in Europe, in Asia, in the republics of the former USSR and in contemporary Russia;

* connections and reciprocal influences between Expressionism and Abstraction;

* expressionism and abstraction in search of spiritual revelation: symbolic, mystical, apocalyptic, prophetic motives in abstraction, expressionism and their different forms;

* Expressionism and Surrealism as two ways of working with the subconscious;

* theoretical discussions on the place and objectives of Abstract Art;

* the role of Wassily Kandinsky’s teachings on “the spiritual in art and in painting in particular” in the development of world abstraction;

* the creative quest of the abstractionist artists of Guy de Montlaur’s generation;

* the existential dimensions of Expressionism and Abstract Art;

* the “psychosomatic” of painting and, more broadly, of creative experience;

* the war in the creative biography of Guy de Montlaur and other painters: philosophy of trauma and self-transcendence, painting as a mode of incarnation of the theme of war, the place of memory and the path of war forgetfulness;

* the specificity of the perception of abstract art and its destinies in criticism and in the history of painting;

* the past enriches the present: media aesthetics in the context of abstract art and developments applied to the field of design, advertising, in the light of experiments with color, shapes and texture;

* the mutual influence of market conditions and the psychology of creativity in painting and art: isolation of oneself, withdrawal from public space and peculiarities of the “art for art’s sake”;

* Guy de Montlaur’s individual experience and parallels with the destinies of other artists: the pragmatics of the market and the poetics of inspiration, the ethics of self-expression.

The range of subjects under study can be expanded. Working languages: English, Russian, French. Power Point presentation: in English.

The conference will include an exhibition of the artist’s works and a round table devoted to the paintings presented at this exhibition.

Following the results of the conference, it is planned to publish a collective monograph dedicated to the centenary of the artist. The text of the monograph will be placed in the Russian Science Citation Index (RSCI) database, the possibility of translating the book into English and French will also be considered.

From April 3th to 5th, 2019, in France (at the Institute for Graduate Studies in Arts in Paris and in the former painter’s studio near Lisieux, Normandy), will be held a second part of the conference dedicated to the celebrations of the 75th anniversary of the Allied landings in Normandy. A new call for papers for this second part of the conference will be released in October 2018.

Participation to the conference is free.

Call for papers in Russian, English and French:


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