The Avant-garde Misao (Avant-garde tendencies in the periodical 'Misao' at the time when it was edited by Ranko Mladenović, 1922–1923)

Barać, Stanislava

Авангардна Мисао (Авангардне тенденције у часопису 'Мисао' <br />у време уређивања Ранка Младеновића, 1922–1923)


Beograd: Institut za književnost i umetnost;

Cataloguing data:

УДК 050.488MISAO"1922/1923"
ISBN 978-86-7095-139-6
COBISS.SR-ID 150263308


The periodical Misao [Thought], during the period while it was edited by Ranko Mladenović (1922–1923), offers but one of the possible views of the literature of the Serbian avant-garde movement, of its evolution, that is, its evolutionary trends, and of the external and internal factors contributing to its development. From the perspective of this very broadly conceived literary-social periodical, one can, therefore, reconstruct one of the images of the Serbian avant-garde. In this sense, the avant-garde tendencies thus singled out may be formulated as: 1) the unification of the European cultural space, 2) the ambivalent status of tradition, that is, a parallel establishment of literary continuity and discontinuity, 3) cosmism, 4) intuitionism, 5) constructivism, 6) primitivism, 7) theatrical expressionism, 8) the inrush of the art of the cinema, and 9) the expansion of the manifesto-type discourse. Even though they are primarily reviewed as artistic tendencies, they can also be perceived in philosophical, scientific and other texts. That is why descriptions of individual phenomena inevitably tend towards generalising and totalising categories such as the zeitgeist and the poetics of culture. The individual avant-garde tendencies dealt with here are revealed, therefore, to be expressions of more general tendencies towards a renewal of art and life, towards re-examining and re-evaluating traditional values, towards a different, alternative world-view.

The new world-view was expressed through cosmism, be it as a poetic, scientific or philosophical paradigm, and also through intuitionism. While cosmism presupposes striving for comprehensiveness and viewing the world and the cosmos as a unique whole wherein everything is connected with everything else, intuitionism, in keeping with the views of Henri Bergson, apart from a synthetic approach to reality, also means a rejection of logocentrism and a recognition of the irrational in the process of getting to know the world. Just as cosmism brought a new understanding of time and space, in equal measure in science (in the geometry of Lobachevsky and Minkowski, or in Einstein’s relativity theory) and in art (in the avant-garde projects of Picasso, Khlebnikov and Rastko Petrović), so intuitionism changed the attitude towards the established notion of time, which was viewed and qualified through the categories of space. In both cases, what this was about was the discovery of the continuity of these most general categories of human thought, so that in physics a new construction of the spatial-temporal continuum appeared, while in philosophy the notion of duration was introduced. What cosmism and intuitionism have in common is the inclusion of subjectivity or a subjective view within the framework of the hitherto “objective” view of the world, on account of which faith in the absolute meaning was lost, that is, philosophical and scientific relativism developed. The said relativism undermined and destabilised the key category of the 19th-century positivist and realist view of the world – the category of truth. The changed status of truth and veracity, which presupposes that it is not the only one and objectively given, but that there is a plurality of truths and angles of vision, is part of the basis of another avant-garde tendency – constructivism. The artist “bares” his/her working method in order to announce his/her awareness of the fact that knowledge is constructed. Avant-garde tendencies, thus, interpenetrate one another, so that distancing from Eurocentrism by way of turning to the cultures of the Far East is referred to in this book in connection with cosmism, due to the adoption of the Upanishad or the Buddhist view of the world, and also in connection with primitivism, due to a related tendency towards a primeval experience of the world and the primary manner of attaining knowledge. Constructivist tendencies run through the review of the avant-garde theatre, but their roots also lie in the “discovery” of primitive naïve art and its forms. The synthetic character of the art of the cinema and its ability to present the unreal are yet another name for a phenomenon which its coevals saw as a quality of the intuitive.


avant-garde, tradition, periodical, Misao, Ranko Mladenović, cosmism, intuitionism, constructivism, primitivism, theatrical expressionism, film, manifesto, the poetics of culture