IMAGES Journal for Visual Studies

events: Visual studies today: The power of images


Clemena Antonova
Visual Studies Before Visual Studies: “The Science of Art” in Early Soviet Russia

The proposed paper brings attention to some of the projects at the Russian Academy of Artistic Sciences (RAKhN), an avant-garde institution that was co-founded by Vasilii Kandinsky in 1921 and existed until 1929. It is suggested that the work done at RAKhN could be relevant once again in the context of our present-day debates on the status of visual studies.  RAKhN is usually regarded as important in the process of institutionalizing art history as an academic discipline in Russia. I will suggest, instead, that the kind of work that was done at RAKhN by philosophers, mathematicians, biologists, etc. interested in the “science of art” (in Kandinsky’s expression) was much closer to visual studies in the modern sense of the word than to art history.