The 1920s and 1930s were the only period in the history of artistic interaction between the USSR and Japan when it was possible to learn from periodical literature about the work of artists whose oeuvre was contemporary for the whole world and not just the USSR. By the beginning of the 1930s a critical approach had developed that was antagonistic to many artistic trends and their representatives and distorted the perception of the latest processes in the contemporary art of Japan.
The archive, which was collected by Viktor Belozerov, comprises more than 100 newspaper and journal publications from the late 1920s to the mid‑1930s, including articles, short notes, and photographic and illustrative materials. These documents cover various fields of Japanese art, from contemporary painting and sculpture to architecture and photography. There are separate sections for reviews of Japanese exhibitions and the participation of Japanese artists in group projects in the USSR, events and exhibitions in Japan involving Soviet artists, critical articles about the state of contemporary Japanese art (S. Kochawa, Genji Otsuki, S. Kibe) and publications by Soviet authors (David Arkin, Nikolai Punin, V. Milman, Boris Ternovets, Vsevolod Voinov) about contemporary Japanese art. A small selection of publications concerns classical architecture (Boris Denike), contemporary photography, and children’s art (Nina Sakulina, Anatoly Bakushinsky).
The archive also reflects the theme of proletarian art in Japan, including the movement as a whole and the role of some of its participants (Yabe Tomoe, Eitaro Ishigaki, Toki Okamoto, and others), and also the artistic characteristics of painting and poster design. From the late nineteenth century, Japanese artists ceased being linked geographically only to Japan, as was reflected in publications about the Japanese art community in Paris and in particular about the work of Tsuguharu Fujita and Sei Koyanagui.
Viktor Belozerov (b. 1996, Moscow) has a master’s degree in the theory and history of art and is a researcher and Japan expert. He graduated from the Art History Faculty of the Russian State University for the Humanities (Moscow). He is the founder of the education project Gendai Eye, which aims to promote contemporary Japanese art in Russia. He lives and works in Moscow.