Éva Forgács is an art historian, avant-garde researcher, and senior fellow at the Internationales Forschungszentrum Kulturwissenschaften Kunstuniversität Linz/Wien (IFK). Her book, published last year (2022), Malevich and Interwar Modernism: Russian Art and the International of the Square, opens up a new perspective in the research of avant-garde art by using previously unused sources.
Forgács explores the contradictions of avant-garde art between the two world wars: the problem of the artistic program that drew simultaneously on tradition and the scientific and industrial innovations of modernity, and the simultaneous need for artistic autonomy and the participation of art as a propaganda weapon in revolutionary transformation. The issues and legacies of art in the 1920s and 1930s are explored through the semantic changes of the square, its most striking motif. Using newly discovered and reinterpreted documents, she shows how this legacy was reinterpreted by the three main protagonists of the book, Kazimir Malevich, El Lissitzky, and Theo van Doesburg. She explores the transnational relationship between the three from 1919 onwards, and then the reception of Malevich in the West after the Second World War, which gives the author the opportunity to present the avant-garde tradition as a fabric of competing narratives. She argues that the post-World War II revival of the avant-garde and the belated discovery of the Russian chapter of the interwar period are interconnected.
The conversation with Éva Forgács is related to KEMKI's research on avant-garde art, and we hope it will contribute to laying the methodological foundations of this research and placing it in an international context.
Éva Forgács, Internationales Forschungszentrum Kulturwissenschaften Kunstuniversität Linz/Wien (IFK)
Magdolna Gucsa, KEMKI
Eszter Őze, KEMKI, MKE