Yury Linnik.
Russian Cosmism and Russian Vanguard,
Petrozavodsk, Svyatoi Ostrov ,82p ,1995
ISBN 5-87339-040-1

Studying the linkage of the "Amaravella" group with preceding and neighbouring artistic trends in art, Yu.Linnik comes in this book beyond the scope of his previous interests and intentionally emphasizes certain relationship between the Russian vanguard and Russian cosmism.

He sees it also in the fact that abstract artists (e.g, Malevich) made the form free from ties of gravity, and also in their common relationship with theosophy for which the initial cosmic aspiration is an alienable feature (here we can recall passion of W.Kandinsky, N.Rerikh, A.Skrjabin, and M.Churlenis for theosophical ideas of  E.Blavatsky).

One more unifying moment, perhaps, Utopian, is the "prometeism", that is, the longing for transformations (sometimes, even on the universe scale).

The book consists of two main parts. In the first part the author considers the creative activity of classics of vanguard (Kandinsky, Malevich, and Filonov) in the cosmic- artistic aspect. The second part of the book analyzes the original works of our contemporary, F.Infante, citizen of Moscow. In Linnik's opinion, W.Kandinsky is in his way the first "psychonaut" (by analogy with the words "astronaut" and "cosmonaut"). But his cosmos is the cosmos of human spirit, and, in the author's opinion, W.Kandinsky emerges in the history of culture as the discoverer of the new world beauty.

The artist appears here as the creator of the world, demonstrating hereby that the creation is active and cosmogenic. The universal code for description of the overlapping sciences (cosmology, embryology, and psychology) is a symbol. V.Kandinsky uses a sort of symbols-hieroglyphs (signs-archetypes). In this case, Linnik notices many common features in schematic illustrations, explanations to the cosmological pages of "Secret Doctrine" of E.Blavatsky, and in picturesque concepts of W.Kandinsky. Linnik believes that many a number of the artist's works could be interpreted as extremely capacious and exact "videoseries" to the text of the "Secret Doctrine". Very original idea for future publishers of Blavatsky's works!

The geometricity of "Malevich's cosmos" immediately presupposes the intentional overcoming of biomorphism of geocentric world outlook. Here, the rigid and maximally schematized geometricity adds to the cosmos of Malevich a certain fundamentality and, at the same time, certain archaic features (something from the region of the world of geometric ideas, according to Plato's theory). In Linnik's opinion, the interrelationship of the following actions: exit in the domain ofnon-objectiveness - exit in cosmic space - exit to new sensorics (embodiment of infinity and fourth dimension in painting) is evident for Malevich. Here, the cosmos of Malevich is not the chaos because Logos wreaks its fury in it (almost on the engineering level).

Natural earth objects - mountains, heaps of sand, trees - are of conical form, since they obey the laws of gravity. The compositions of Malevich are purposefully artificial and rectilinear. This logical geometrical engineering is realized in his works in spite of the natural gravity. So, we may say that his "cosmic space is homogeneous and anisotropic".

This is one of his very subtle observations, but I would like to add: such weightlessness is intrinsic not only to Malevich but also to Kandinsky's works, and to the abstract painting on the whole. The main thing here is the fact that the abstract painting has come into weightlessness by virtue of rejection from the real object, from the thing, which always " sit firmly on the ground"; for this reason, the entire composition of realistic painting obeys initially the earth gravity forming thereby the dominating sense of horizon (horizontal line).

We both, me and Linnik, may argue with each other, especially in details, but I always stand rooted to the spot in mute ruptures when reading, e.g., such phrases I see at the end of the story about Malevich: "Was the "Black Square" a peculiar peep-hole in the abyss of vacuum?". Yes, I state that Linnik's phraseology is immanently isomorphic with respect to the cosmogenetic semantics of Malevich! And let I'll be shot by my readers for my expressing so....

In the author's opinion, the artist P.Filonov managed to implement the idea of cosmos as organism proposed still in ancient times by Plato. The Filonov's cosmos is biological (this symptom of the Filonov's works leaps, incidentally, to the eye from the moment one sets eyes on them). The texture of his canvasses looks like as to be taken from a textbook of histology, as a living tissue placed under the microscope. His "organic cosmos" strives to become a potential alternative to the "mechanical cosmos" of constructivists. The Filonov's cosmos is in this respect in tune with the ideas of the prominent scientist K.Tsiolkovsky who imagined that cosmos is filled with life and happiness from the moment of its origin.

Yu.Linnik acquainted us at the beginning of the book with such so different selected "picturesque cosmoses" with the aim to express in the second part of the book his extreme delight caused by "Cosmos of Francisco Infante", our common friend and contemporary who took many times active participation at conferences on light and music in Kazan. The "Leonardo" readers have also familiarized themselves with F.Infante's works (no.1, p.1 l,1992; no.5, pp.442- 443,1994).He puts forward the original projects of formation of new starry sky, creates under the open sky and records on the film his numerous "artefacts" created by unconventional methods by introducing the large reflecting mirror planes (smooth, polyhedral, and curved ).As a result, there creates the astonishing optical illusion of wonderful transformation of space.

The fairy-tale anisotropy without the slightest violence to nature is the main thing that lies in the aesthetic effect of Infante's "artefacts". Expansion of consciousness with the help of the minimal effort is realized visually and convincingly! Yu.Linnik also in ruptures over the above-mentioned projects of" starry sky reconstruction because he sees in it the unusual sign model of"cosmos as the noosphere".

In all these works about F.Infante, the author of the book sees something common: philosophy of game, and draws the conclusion that "game-sphere" is the necessary element of the "noosphere". The book is not large; in order to tell here about all his "discoveries" he came in the course of his considerations over all these "cosmoses", I would have to retell the entire book , but it is beyond the frames of this review. Nonetheless, all things described here will make it, perhaps, possible for readers to convince in the fact that Yu.Linnik as the talented reflexing spectator, is adequate to characters of his book.

.Bulat Galeyev