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29 May 2024

6-8pm, The Courtauld Institute of Art, Vernon Square Campus, WC1X 9EW

Collective Body: Book launch and panel discussion on the limits of socialist realism

Join us for a panel discussion to mark the launch of Christina Kiaer’s new book Collective Body: Aleksandr Deineka at the Limit of Socialist Realism (University of Chicago Press, 2024), which offers a new account of Socialist Realism not as a totalitarian style but as a fiercely collective art system. Christina Kiaer is joined by Maria Mileeva, Michał Murawski, Alex Potts and Sarah Wilson.

Dislodging the avant-garde from its central position in the narrative of Soviet art, Collective Body presents painter Aleksandr Deineka’s corporeal version of Socialist Realism as an alternate experimental aesthetic that activates affective forces for collective ends.

Christina Kiaer traces Deineka’s path from his avant-garde origins as the inventor of the proletarian body in illustrations for mass magazines after the revolution through his success as a state-sponsored painter of monumental, lyrical canvases during the Terror and beyond. Deineka figures in this study not as a singular master, in the spirit of a traditional monograph, but as a limit case of the system he inhabited and helped to create.

Collective Body shows how the art of the October Revolution continues to capture viewers’ imaginations by evoking the elation of collectivity, retaining the potential to inform the art-into-life experiments of contemporary art.

The event is organised by Maria Mileeva, Lecturer at The Courtauld, in collaboration with the FRINGE Centre for the Study of Social and Cultural Complexity (UCL) and PPV (Perverting the Power Vertical: Politics and Aesthetics).

Admission free, pre-booking essential

1 March 2024


The Masaryk Room

4th Floor

UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies

16 Taviton Street, WC1H 0BW

Ukrainian Women Artists at War. A story of resistance and care

The Russian war in Ukraine directly affects culture by destroying museums and heritage. How does contemporary art resist and reflect such cruelty? What happens to contemporary Ukrainian art when it is caught up in war, and when it experiences constant, systematic trauma?

In her report, Kateryna Iakovlenko will talk about a woman's view of war: how to be a woman artist, an artist and a mother, an artist engaged in volunteering? What other roles did the war prepare for women artists, and how did these women artists cope with these roles?

Kateryna Iakovlenko is a Digital Editor-in-Chief of PBC: Suspilne Culture; Ukrainian contemporary art researcher, curator, and writer. Among her publications is the book Why There Are Great Women Artists in Ukrainian Art (2019), a special issue Euphoria and Fatigue: Ukrainian Art and Society after 2014. Among her curatorial exhibitions are I dreamed of beasts (Labirynt Gallery, 2022-2023, with Halyna Hleba), Everyone is afraid of the baker, and I thank you (apartment exhibition, Irpin, 2022) and Our Years, Our Words, Our Losses, Our Searches, Our Us (Jam Factory, Lviv, 2023, with Natalia Matsenko and Borys Filonenko). She is also a co-curator of the Secondary Archive project (2022) and Secondary Archive project: Women Artists at War (2024).

Perverting the Power Vertical (PPV) is an event platform and seminar series based at the UCL SSEES.

Booking link coming soon

5 February 2024


Room 6.02, Bartlett School of Architecture

22 Gordon Street



United Kingdom

The ABC of the Projectariat: Precarious conditions of labour in creative industries: an Aleatoric performance and discussion

Freelance artists, designers and architects do projects in order to make a living. Those mobile projectarians roam the art world, where enthusiasm is paired with exclusion, mobility with poverty, self-entrepreneurialism with anxiety. Writer, curator and activist Kuba Szreder will dissect the ups and downs of this unpredictable existence in an aleatoric lecture, performing a random selection of entries from his recently published book The ABC of the Projectariat (2021). Beginning with “A is for Aftermath (of the pandemic)”, and concluding with “Y is for You are Not Alone”, this handbook addresses both the daily grind of projectarians through entries such as “A is for Applications” and “D is for Deadlines” and the systemic conditions of their labour. It reveals a harsh reality of winner-takes-it-all economy, structurally marked by competition and exclusion. Szreder’s performative lecture will be followed by an open discussion, focused on the practical modes of coping with the systemic pressures of highly networked world, devised and tested by projectarians themselves, such as interdependent self-organisation, mutual support, and other forms of action, art strikes, productive withdrawals, political struggles and better social time machines.

Kuba Szreder is a lecturer in the department of art theory at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw, who combines his research with interdependent curatorial practice. He has made over a hundred projects as a freelance curator, writer, lecturer, and organiser. He has co-initiated and cooperated with numerous collectives, research clusters and artistic trade unions on local and international scales, such as Free/Slow University of Warsaw, the Centre for Plausible Economies in London and the Office for Postartistic Practices in Poland. He is author and editor of multiple readers, articles, and book chapters on theory and sociology of contemporary art. His latest is The ABC of the Projectariat: Living and Working in a Precarious Art World (2021). In this short lexicon, Szreder argues that, just as proletarians had nothing to lose but their chains, the projectarians have nothing to miss but their deadlines.

Co-hosted by the Situating Architecture Series, Bartlett School of Architecture; with the PPV (Perverting the Power Vertical: Politics & Aesthetics) platform at the FRINGE Centre, UCL SSEES / UCL IAS.


PPV #42 Collective Body

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