Artists on the Move: Transnational and Transcultural Perspectives on Migration from the (former) Russian Empire, 1880–1939

Artists on the Move: Transnational and Transcultural Perspectives on Migration from the (former) Russian Empire, 1880–1939

Yale-NUS College; The Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies Program of the Whitney and Betty MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies at Yale University
CT 06511
New Haven
United States
Takes place
From - Until
07.03.2024 - 08.03.2024
Mira Kozhanova, Otto-Friedrich-Universität Bamberg

The conference aims to rethink, redefine and differentiate the complex phenomenon of migration from the Russian empire and its successor states.

Artists on the Move: Transnational and Transcultural Perspectives on Migration from the (former) Russian Empire, 1880–1939

The twentieth century was marked by several significant migratory flows from the Russian Empire and its successor states, which resulted in many artists living and working abroad. These diverse artistic relocations were already present at the turn of the century and increased drastically after the Russian Revolutions of 1905 and 1917, as well as the Civil War of 1917–1922. These migratory flows were fundamentally impacted by socio-political factors and largely comprised of artists who opposed either the Tsarist or the Soviet regimes on the basis of their ideological, national, or religious views. Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine has emphasized the ever-present political dimension that shapes migration processes, either as a reason for relocation, in the choice of destination/transit country, and in the activities and/or activism at the new place of residence. Furthermore, it has added a new urgency to the already existing need to reconsider the concept of “Russian emigration,” as much as the problematic terms: “Russian artist” or “Russian avant-garde.”

The conference aims to illuminate the national, ethnocultural and religious diversity of the migrant artists in order to deconstruct the homogenizing perception of this phenomenon as solely Russian or Russian-speaking. It seeks to rethink, redefine, differentiate, and ultimately better understand the complex phenomenon of migration from the Russian empire and its successor states. By decentering research perspectives and actively adopting a decolonial framework, the aim is to challenge both the Russo-centric narratives that still dominate art historiography on the subject and the Eurocentric concept of “modernism” more broadly.

The conference will be held online on 7–8 March 2024.

To participate please register in advance:


THURSDAY, 7 March 2024

9:00–9:30 Welcome addresses

9:30–11:00 PANEL 1: Moving East: The Asian Arc of Migration

David Low (Singapore): The Russian Connection in Singapore’s Local Art Identity
Olga Isaeva (University of Bonn, Germany): David Davidovich Burliuk and Futurism in Japan: Letting go of painting that is fixed to a single style
Katya Knyazeva (University of Eastern Piedmont, Vercelli, Italy): The émigré artist Victor Podgoursky and his legacy in Shanghai, Hong Kong and Kazan

11:00–11:30 Coffee break

11:30–13:00 PANEL 2: Moving West: Rethinking Migrant Communities in Eastern Europe

Jakub Hauser (Museum of Czech Literature, Prague, Czech Republic): Ukrainian Studio of Plastic Arts in Interwar Prague in the Context of the Exile Community from the Former Russian Empire
Daria Kostina (Almaty, Kazakhstan): Representatives of the Kalmyk Immigrant Community in Portraits of the Immigrant Artist Grigory Musatov in the Interwar Prague
Liudmila Sharaya (Arizona State University, USA): Between alienation and appropriation: Russian émigrés and space of Bulgaria and France during the interwar period

13:00–14:00 Lunch break

14:00–16:00 PANEL 3: Negotiating Belonging in Changing Environments

Marija Podzorova-Biret (Laboratory ICT, University Paris Cité, France): Navigating Ideological Crossroads: Georgy K. Loukomski in the mediation of the Soviet art and cultural policy in the West
Jeffrey Taylor (US Fulbright Scholar, European Humanities University Vilnius, Lithuania): From the lost Eva Striker to the survivor Eva Zeisel
Lina Bernstein (Franklin & Marshall College, USA): The Many Lives of Magda Nachman
Roann Barris (University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, USA): Boris Aronson: An Artist on the Move

16:00–16:30 Coffee break


Jane Sharp (Rutgers University, USA): Object Travel (Maps of Misreading)

FRIDAY, 8 March 2024

9:30–11:00 PANEL 4: Transnational Realities of Global Artistic Exchanges

Bronislava Prakhiy, Ekaterina Heath, Ksenia Radchenko (University of Sydney, Australia): Reclaiming Danila Vassilieff: Transnational Hybridity of a Cossack Émigré in Australian Modernism
Dilara Ulu (Istanbul Technical University, Türkiye): From Exile to Citizenship: The Influence of Vladimir Zender’s Network in Istanbul on his Photography
Julieta Pestarino (4A_Lab / University of Buenos Aires, Argentina): Anatole Saderman. A photographer between Moscow and South America

11:00–11:30 Coffee break

11:30–13:30 PANEL 5: Gender and Artistic Mobility

Anja Wilhelmi (Northeast-Institute, University of Hamburg, Germany): The significance of gender and marital status in migration and exile for artists, using the example of Eva-Margarete Borchert (1878–1964)
Christa Spreizer (Queens College, The City University of New York, USA): The artist Rahel Szalit-Marcus and “Die Emigrantin als Bardame” (The Female Emigrant as Barmaid)
Pauline Walkiewicz (Europe-Eurasia Research Center (CREE), INALCO, Paris, France): Interactions and network of the Russian artists: the case of Mela Muter (1876–1967) and Zofia Piramowicz (1880–1958), two women artists from Warsaw during the Partition
Priscilla Manfren (University of Padua, Italy): A Young Russian Girl between Africa and Europe: Life and Works of Olga de Goguine

13:30–14:30 Lunch break


Vita Susak (Swiss Academic Society for Eastern European Studies, Switzerland): The (in)visible borders and crossroads of the Russophone artistic emigration (1880–1939)

16:00–16:30 Coffee break

16:30–18:00 ROUNDTABLE „Unity in Diversity? The Entangled Histories of Migrant Artists from the Russian Empire/Soviet Union“

Speakers: Marina Dmitrieva (Independent art historian, Germany), Krista Kodres (Estonian Academy of Arts, Estonia) and Maria Silina (Université du Québec à Montréal, Canada)

18:00 Closing remarks

Contact (announcement)

Mira Kozhanova:

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