Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
Art and Design
Dr. Maria Gindhart
Dr. Kimberly Cleveland
Dr. Juliette Apkarian
The subject of my thesis is Russian artist Alexandra Exter’s work in the performing arts, with a focus on her theatrical set and costume designs in the Kamerny Theater, her creations for Iakov
Protazanov’s 1924 science fiction film, Aelita, and finally her exquisitely fabricated set of approximately forty marionettes. Within these colorful wooden figures are reconciled conflicting notions of stasis and dynamism, sculpture and performer, human and object. Drawing upon Victor Shklovskiĭ’s formalist definition of “enstrangement,” I examine her introduction of the object in place of the human performer as a means of exposing the creative process, forcing the viewer to actively engage with the production. Thus, her manipulation and eventual replacement of the human performer not only exemplifies the interconnectivity and mutability of Russian avant-garde art, but impels the viewer to reconsider the familiar in terms of the strange, ultimately calling attention to the humanity of the dehumanized performer.
Hunt, Laura A., "From Performer to Petrushka: A Decade of Alexandra Exter's Work in Theater and Film" (2011). Art and Design Theses. Paper 70.