Young & Furious.Young & FutuRious

By Maria Koby

In the USA David Burliuk is perhaps best known for his prolific career as the futuristic Ukrainian, Russian, post-impressionist painter and illustrator. Wild futuristic horses, bright village scenes, post-impressionism landscapes & allegorical paintings were some of his favorite themes. But David Burliuk was also a famous trailblazer of the futuristic movement in Russia. Together with Vladimir Mayakovsky Velimir Khlebnikov, Nikolai Burlyk, Vasily Kamensky and Alexander Kruchenykh, Benedict Livshic they wrote A Slap in the Face of Public Taste. This illustrated manifesto challenges the language & versatility of such prominent writers as Pushkin, Dostoevskiy and Tolstoy suggesting to throw them overboard from the modern boat, under the slogan, “Liberate the Words”.  The manifesto book is a vibrant volume of edgy innovative poems and prose inundated with off-beat metaphors, impressionism, music, and psychedelic themes. The volume is distanced from old literary traditions, breaking grammatical rules and coining new words and phrases. You might be surprised to realize that the book was written in 1912. Such were the rebel-innovators!

I find it interesting to see that futurism as the art movement didn’t die completely somewhere in the twenties and was retuning sporadically throughout the twentieth century. Futurism was also expressed through books, movies and fashion. Traces of Russian futurism embedded in Anthony Burgess’s Clockwork Orange with its interesting unique Russian-influenced fictional language Nadsat. A lot of Stanley Kubrick’s movies, including the Clockwork Orange are also saturated with futuristic elements. Years later Alexander McQueen presented his unique edgy futuristic collections. In the present continuum futurism as the art movement might be taking a long break. But at least in the technology area, it won’t be long until many hot futuristic cars will head for production.


During the spring auction David Burliuk’s Bar by the Harbor was sold for $18,000.