Theory — 2 until 3 Jun 2017

Symposium in honour of Nikolai Khardzhiev, scholar and collector (1903-1996)
Regular – 40 € (valid on both days, incl. museum entrance) / Student – 30 € (valid on both days, incl. museum entrance)
Teijin auditorium
2 until 3 Jun 2017, 8 am until 3 pm
Main language
Regular tickets
Student tickets

Download the program here

The Stedelijk Museum and the Khardzhiev Foundation proudly present the first edition of the bi-annual Khardzhiev symposium. During this symposium some of the most celebrated academic researchers on the Russian Avant-garde will present their latest insights.

True to Khardzhiev’s own aspirations, the symposium focuses on an understanding of the Russian Avant-garde as an essentially multidisciplinary endeavour, with a focus on the intense relationships between the visual and the literary arts. Therefore, the symposium explores the many lives – artistic, literary, political and philosophical – of the Russian Avant-garde.

This symposium wants to draw attention to the great wealth of the joint Avant-garde collections of the Stedelijk Museum and the Khardzhiev Foundation, which are preserved in Amsterdam, and to promote research on the collection. The presence of both world-renowned works of art and the equally well-known archive offers the possibility to pioneering research, and the promise of new insights in the field of this unique period.


From the beginning, the historical Avant-garde has been an eminent, international movement. Artists have worked in many different locations, published internationally and their work was on display in many countries. The various Avant-garde movements (De Stijl, Constructivism, Suprematism, etc.) developed simultaneously in several countries, in constant discussion and competition. The collected and preserved heritage of the Avant-garde which is now preserved and historicized in national contexts, has always been understood as a shared international heritage. By bringing together researchers from Russia, Ukraine, de United States, and Europe, the organizers of the symposium try to do justice to the international ambitions of the Avant-gardists. The symposium also wants to show and further explore the multidisciplinary foundations of the historic Avant-garde. Almost all avant-garde artists were active, or jointly active, in various artistic disciplines, and interwoven in their artistic projects. The research on their work thus gains a multidisciplinary research perspective. The Khardzhiev symposium attempts to stimulate this development by bringing together researchers from different disciplines, and stimulating multidisciplinary research.

The Stedelijk Museum, the Khardzhiev collection and the Van Abbemuseum, together represent the most important collection of Russian Avant-garde in the world outside the Russian Federation. This presence also entails a special responsibility, to which the symposium tries to do justice.

With The Many Lives of the Russian Avant-Garde the organizers are aiming to promote knowledge exchange and to increase international networks between archival institutions (museums, archives) and research institutions (universities, institutes) that operate within the field of shared heritage of the international Avant-garde, particularly avant-garde groups that are connected to, or originating in Russia and Eastern Europe. There will be a specific focus on the and their (Eastern) European partner institutions. The symposium is a joint project by the Stedelijk Museum and the Khardzhiev Foundation, both in Amsterdam.


Confirmed speakers are:

Aleksandr Parnis, independent scholar

Alexandra Shatskikh, independent scholar

Andrei Rossomakhin, European University Saint Petersburg

Anna Ostrovskaja, independent scholar

Dennis Ioffe, Gent University

Gerald Janecek, University of Kentucky  

John Bowlt, University of Southern California

Linda Boersma, Utrecht University

Natalia Gerchikova, RGALI Russian State Archive of Literature and Art

Mark Konecny, University of Cincinnati

Mary Nicholas, Lehigh University

Nataliya Zlydneva, Moscow State University

Nicoletta Misler, University of Naples

Nina Gourianova, Northwestern University

Olga Burenina, Zurich University

Sjeng Scheijen, Leiden University

Tatiana Goriatcheva, State Tretyakov Gallery Moscow

Willem Weststeijn, University of Amsterdam

The symposium coincides with the start of a new research project at the Stedelijk Museum, which, in 2017, focuses on De Stijl and the centennial of the Russian Revolution, and presents, celebrates and questions the many artistic links with the revolutionary movement.

You can find the full program at the top of this page. 

This symposium is made possible with the support of Dutch Culture centre for international cooperation.