Kädi Talvoja “Karm stiil eesti kunstiajalookirjutuse kontekstis. Severe Style in the Context of Estonian Art History Writing” (Dissertationes 27)

This dissertation addresses the historical meaning and role of Severe Style in the Estonian context. Although Severe Style marked a key breakthrough in Stalinist Socialist Realism dogmas in the late 1950s and early 1960s, this step was not compelling enough for researchers who proceeded from the post-Soviet perspective, and therefore, the style became branded with the status of “official art” of the Khrushchev period. As Severe Style developed in the relatively liberal atmosphere of the Khrushchev Thaw and was at the initiative of artists, rather than a diktat from the central government, it implicitly associates with voluntary officialism, which is hard to reconcile with the resistance models of the history of Estonian art. The strategic premise for this thesis is that an approach stemming from the concept of resistance does more to obscure than to illuminate the operating mechanisms of the art field in Soviet Estonia: it masks the extensive, albeit occasionally opaque, influence of official discourses on Estonian art and disregards the changes that took place over time in concepts and practices in Soviet culture. In analysing the central (i.e. official) discourses in art during the Thaw and the dynamics of their changes, the research will move from the issues pertaining to Severe Style to a more expansive field and lay out a broader picture of the art processes of that era.

Supervisor: prof Virve Sarapik
External Reviewers: dr Epp Annus, dr Anu Allas
Opponent: dr Epp Annus

Copy editors: Kanni Labi, Martin Rünk
English translation: Kristopher Rikken
Graphic design: Jaanus Samma

Dissertationes Academiae Artium Estoniae 27
348 lk, in Estonian and English
Eesti Kunstiakadeemia, 2019

ISBN 978-9949-594-73-3 (print)
ISBN 978-9949-594-74-0 (pdf)
ISSN 1736-2261

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Posted by Neeme Lopp