А Chant of Universal Flowering:
The Poetry and Painting of Pavel Filonov
SCHEDULE
1:30-2:30 р.m. Display of Russian Modernist Materials in Special Collections
Display of material related to Раvе1 Filonov and Russian Cubo-Futurism from the avant-garde collections of the Getty Research Institute and the Institute of Моdern Russian Culture at the University of Southern California
LECTURE АND РERFORMANCE
2:30-2:40 р.m. Welcome & Opening Remarks
Gail Feigenbaum, Associate Director for Programs, Getty Research lnstitute
2:40-3:00 р.m. Ргоgram Introduction
John Е. Воwlt, Professor, Department of Slavic Languages and Literature, University of Southern California
3:00-3:30 р.m. Lecture: "Death and the Maiden: The Pictorial Legacy of Раvе1 Filonov"
Nicoletta Misler, Professor of Russian аnd Еаst European Аrt, Universitá di Napoli "l'Еurора," Naples, Italy
3:30-3:40 р.m. Break
3:40-3:45 р.m. Performative Reading Commentary: А Chant of Universal Flowering
John Е. Воwlt
3:45-4:45 р.m. Раvе1 Filonov: А Chant of Universal Flowering (1915) Performance (in Russian) of Part One.
Ргоducer: O1eg Minin
Artistic Director:YuliyaVolkhonovych
4:45-5:00 р.m. Discussion
Moderator: Sarah Pratt, Professor, Slavic Languages and Literature, University of Southern California
5:00-6:00 р.m. Reception
А Chant of Universal Flowering
Propeven' о prorosli mirovoi (А Chant of Universal Flowering), pub­lished in 1915, is Раvеl Filonov's опlу published poetical and dra­matic work (the Getty Research Institute owns а сору, поw оп dis­рlау). It reflects his dominant apocalyptic concerns with ancient rituаl, folkloric tradition, the Вiblе, and the trials of war. А Chant of Universal Flowering is а dramatic роеm (poetical drama) about vio­lence, with references not only to the Great War, but also to Cain and Abel, the battles of Medieval Russia, and the vengeful darkness of раgап myth. 1t is also about linguistic rupture, as the narrative, lacking conventional punctuation, advances through а kaleidoscope of neologisms and jarring, dislocated images.
In style, tопе, and technique, А Chant of Universal  Flowering, which соuld also bе translated as "А Sermon about Universal Flowering,” differs markedly from the deliberate rhetoric and clear composition of Filonov's numerous theoretical and critical tracts. The peculiar truncation and intertwining of images of death, decay, and putre­faction in А Chant of Universa! Flowering extend Filonov's funda­mental belief in what hе саlled "re-evolution;' whereby decomposi­tion, whether in life or in art, is the prerequisite for new growth and composition.
Inevitably, аny translation of Filonov's Russian text is inadequate. The English rendering is meant to ргоduce similar impressions of ап invented language in which narrative fades at the сost of verbal experimentation: аn experimentation that transforms text into а constant, unpunctuated declamation, and where common language and unearthly gibberish intertwine and coalesce.
Interpretation and adaptation of А Chant or Universal Flowering is problematic. Filonov left по instructions regarding аnу intended production, performance, or function of the рlау. As well, the origi­nal manuscript is lost and many of the references within the plау remain obscure. А number of major issues аге  without authori­tative answers such as the costumes and backdrops, and the ges­tures of the dramatis persоnае. Оn the other hand, as а result of these problems, the dramatic produceг is provided the гаге freedom of interpretation.

The director and actors for this premiere performance of part оne have remained faithful to the character of Filonov's art, bearing in mind folkloric precedents, Filonov's aesthetic theories, and the methods and techniques of his visual oeuvre as а wholе. Аt the same time the spirit of the drama has bееn extended and enhanced adding elements  of music, plastic movement, and decoration.


 

 

DRAMATIS PERSONAE (CAST)

Van'ka Kliuchnik (Ivan the Key Holder): Oleg Minin
Kniaginia (Princess):                     Elena Vassilieva
Staryi kniaz' (Old Prince):            Christopher Gilman
Istlevshii komandor (Decayed Commander): Mark Konecny
Staro-nemetskii korol' (Old German King): Jamilya Nazyrova
Provokator s proplevannym litsom
(Provocateur with Bespitten Face): Adele Di Ruocco
Zapevalo (Choir Leader):              Tatiana Akishian
Podgolosok (Singalong):               Allison Pultz
Govoritel' (Speaker):                     Tatiana Akishina
PRODUCTION
Director:                                     Yuliya Volkhonovych
Producer:                                        Oleg Minin
Sound Designer:                             Jay Golden
Visual Designer:                            Matthew Clausen
Visual Designer:                            Geer DuBois
J. Paul Getty Trust Audio Visual Department

THE GETTY RESEARCH INSTITUTE: SPECIAL COLLECTIONS
Pavel Nikolaevich Filonov Collection
The Research Library at the Getty Research Institute holds an important collection of the visual and literary work of the artist Pavel Nikolaevich Filonov (1883-1941), on display in the Special Collections seminar room. The collection includes Filonov's A Chant of Universal Flowering, Velemir Khlebnikov's poem Dereviannye idoly (Wooden Idols) (1914) featuring calligraphic designs by Filonov, the Finnish epic poem Kalevala (1933) with illustrations by Filonov, and a rare program that credits Filonov as set and costume designer for the first performances of Vladimir Mayakovsky's tragedy Vladimir Mayakovski, organized by the Union ofYouth in 1913.

THE ARTIST AND HIS WORK
Filonov was one of the most original and enigmatic artists of the Russian avant-garde and a contemporary of Kandinsky, Malevich, and Tatlin. He was thoroughly com­mitted to the creative process and engaged in a fanatical search for his own individual style, his so-called "Ideology of Analytical Art and the Theory of Madeness"
Moscow-born, Filonov moved to St. Petersburg in 1897 and made the city his home. His training was erratic, rang­ing from courses in house painting and decorating, to classes at the Academy of Arts from which he was expelled for "corrupting his colleagues with his paint­ings." After 1910 Filonov emerged as a prime mover of the Russian avant-garde, formulating his concept of Analytical Art. Filonov adapted ideas of anatomical, crys­tallographic, botanical, and zoological systems to his own illustrative style of "microscopic" images reflecting a pic­torial physiology that glistens and pulsates. This vitality also characterizes Filonov's single known poetical and dramatic text, A Chant of Universal Flowering, an experi­ment in grammar, syntax, and punctuation.
In 1923 Filonov headed the Department of General Ideology at the State Institute of Artistic Culture. That same year he published his manifesto of Universal Flowering in the journal Zhizn' iskusstva (Life of Art). Two years later Filonov was given space in the Academy of Arts, Leningrad, to conduct courses, which gave rise to the "Collective," or School of Masters of Analytical Art. He supervised stage designs for Igor' Terent'ev's production of Nikolai Gogol's Revizor (Inspector General) in 1927, and the illustrations to the Finnish epic poem, Kalevala of 1933 (on display in the Getty Research Institute).
Filonov died during the Leningrad blockade.Through the efforts of his sister, Evdokiia Glebova, his paintings, drawings, and manuscripts were given to the State Russian Museum for safekeeping, and thus preserved for posterity.