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232 Leonardo Reviews the research for this conference provides us with an image of a person with encyclopedic knowledge and an exceptional versatility of interests. According to the foreword, written by the compilers of the materials (editorial board members N.B. Avtonomova, D.V. Sarabyanov and V.S. Turchin), one could say there were three, five or 20 Kandinskys, the basic impulse of his creativity and his striving for self-realization being constant (p. 3). To illustrate the idea of “20 Kandinskys ,” the authors analyze the creativity of the artist within the intersection of very different cultural contexts: early twentieth-century Russian painting combined with the influence of theosophic, scientific, psychological and ethnological ideas. Such an approach does provide a view of the “versatile world of Kandinsky,” resembling in some ways postmodernist approaches where the person is seen as an intersection of various cultural contexts . But as is often the case, an approach based on juxtaposing many divergent characteristics and properties reveals gaps in the portrait of the subject , who remains enigmatic. This is inevitable , because it is impossible to reveal the lively soul of a creative genius via scientific analysis. One must then estimate this project as successful, at least in principle, as a “mosaic” form of reconstructing Kandinsky’s inner world. But for the compilers of this book, the form is not the end in itself. The form is successfully combined with another principle of arranging the articles, one based on a gradual transition from analysis of external cultural and spiritual influences to analysis of the artist’s inner spiritual world, the essential principles and methods of his mental-creative work. The opening articles provide broad descriptions of the culture upon which Kandinsky’s spiritual milieu was built. These include an article on his place in artistic culture of the twentieth century (by M.A. Bessonova) and an article on “Russian Eros” (by V.S. Turchin and J.E. Bowlt), discussing the artist’s possibly theosophic views. D.V. Sarabyanov and V.M. Sokolov analyze the influence of iconic painting techniques and cheap popular prints on Kandinsky ’s work. I.V. Messalin completes the observations with results of his research into the artist’s creativity, using the example of the picture entitled On Points. The next few articles convey some ideas about Kandinsky’s artistic theory (an article by N.P. Podzemskaya), his painting technique (by M.P. Vikturina) and a scientific view of his creative work (by V.G. Stepanov, T.M. Pertzeva and N.B. Avtonomov). The core of the book is comprised of several articles on synesthetic fundamentals of thinking and on Kandinsky’s ideas of arts synthesis (by B.M. Galeyev, I.L. Vanechkina and A.S. Migunov). These attempt to explain, from a synesthetic point of view, the multiplicity of Kandinsky’s creative impulses and, correspondingly , the reason for his becoming a central figure for such heterogeneous fields in the twentieth century. The final part of the book consists of articles (by V.V. Barayev, O.A. Tarasenko and V.V. Bychkov) devoted to revealing subconscious aspects of Kandinsky ’s creativity, in particular on the cultural roots of his creative worldview and on archetypal structures in his paintings. The most original article is the one by V.V. Bychkov, entitled “The Spiritual Universe of Kandinsky.” It is written in a poetic, “avant-garde” form, resembling some of the experiments of the 1920s by the Russian futurists. This is the intuitive-essayistic way the author tries to express his impressions of Kandinsky’s creativity. As a whole, this book is of interest both in terms of its cultural and its theoretical aspects. Undoubtedly, a great merit of the book’s authors is the ability to delimit and outline a whole series of problems that still remain to be researched. MEMORY TRADE: A PREHISTORY OF CYBERCULTURE by Darren Tofts. Murray McKeich, illus. Interface, NSW, Australia, 1997. Illus., 131 pp. Reviewed by David Cox, 2/60 Brighton Rd., Highgate Hill, Queensland 4101, Australia . E-mail: . As we come to the final curtain for the millennium, it is no surprise that books are appearing that seek to frame current debates on cyberculture into contexts foregrounding the role...


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pp. 232-233
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