Revolutionary Dreams, with Charlotte Hobson

Charlotte Hobson on her book, The Vanishing Futurist, and its era, before the Russian Revolution a fringe group of students and poets make art

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The Futurists shocked their wealthy audiences with their crude, witty performances, their bizarre clothes and face-painting. Their art, which soon left Picasso’s abstractions far behind, was derided by the mainstream press and bought only by a few patrons. They dreamt of tearing down the pillars of conventional society; it never occurred to them that their dreams might come true...

In October 1917, they woke up to find the world completely changed. The Bolsheviks had seized power. The avant-garde, as the only artistic group that supported the Revolution, were suddenly the cultural arm of the regime. They leapt to the occasion. ‘We shall clear the wide world of all this bourgeois clutter!’ announced Malevich. ‘A new garb for all the things of this world…’

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Charlotte Hobson

As the granddaughter of a Russian historian, Igor Vinogradoff, and the daughter of Anthony Hobson, author, scholor & director of Sotherby's, Charlotte Hobson grew up in a family that venerated both Russian culture and bookishness. While reading Russian at Edinburgh University, she spent the year in the provincial Russian city of Voronezh that formed the basis for her first book, Black Earth City (Granta 2000), which won a Somerset Maugham Award. She now lives in Cornwall with her husband, the author Philip Marsden, and their two children.

2017Martin Keeley