Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Title Community and Its Plastic Embodiments
Author email
About author Petrovsky, Helen V. –– Ph. D., head of the Department of Aesthetics. RAS Institute of Philosophy, 12/1 Goncharnaya Ul., 109240 Moscow, Russian Federation. ORCID: 0000-0001-7189-4337
In the section Art Theory DOI10.18688/aa2212-07-50
Year 2022 Volume 12 Pages 634641
Type of article RAR Index UDK 74.01/.09; 73.01/.09 Index BBK 87.8; 85.13

How does the practice of contemporary art make us rethink the principles of classical aesthetics? This question is examined through a specific case study, namely, the sculptures of Vadim Sidur, an original Soviet artist. The paper formulates the concept of hieroglyphic sign that originates in the artistic practices themselves, indicating ways in which the contemporary theory of art might be further developed. Sidur’s sculptures are juxtaposed with G. E. Lessing’s Laocoon that interprets classical sculpture as striving for eternity, i.e., as subject to idealization and subordinated to the principle of beauty. What Sidur’s sculptures express, however, is not individual heroism, where pain is overcome for the sake of harmony, but collective pain and suffering that cannot be sublated –– harmonized –– in a work of art.

In order to better understand Sidur’s sculptures, it is useful to turn to S. M. Eisenstein’s remarks. For Eisenstein, the hieroglyph is not only a combination of picture and concept, but also a “conflict” of the two, which is how he understands cinematic montage. The hieroglyph expresses something meaningful and universal by means of pictorial units. Elaborating this idea, one might suggest that symbolic mediation is discarded and that sculpture becomes a social sign of pain. Inseparable from the dynamic of social matter, such signs participate in it directly. Thus they challenge the linguistic model and reveal an irreducible community, in Sidur’s case –– a non-heroic community of those who share the experience of 20th century mass suffering. Hieroglyphic signs contradict autonomy and individuality typical of the classical philosophies of art.

Reference Petrovsky, Helen V. Community and Its Plastic Embodiments. Actual Problems of Theory and History of Art: Collection of articles. Vol. 12. Eds A. V. Zakharova, S. V. Maltseva, E. Iu. Staniukovich-Denisova. — St. Petersburg: St. Petersburg Univ. Press, 2022, pp. 634–641. ISSN 2312-2129.
Publication Article language russian
  • Eimermacher K. Vadim Sidur: Im Spannungsfeld der Welten. Eimermacher K. Ot edinstva k mnogoobraziiu: Razyskaniia v oblasti “drugogo” iskusstva 1950-kh –– 1980-kh godov (From Unity to Diversity: Investigations Into an “Other” Art in the 1950s to 1980s). Moscow, RGGU Publ., 2004, pp. 257–271 (in Russian).
  • Eisenstein S. Beyond the Shot. Iskusstvo metafory (The Art of Metaphor). URL: (accessed 14 February 2021).
  • Iuliia Sidur –– Karl Eimermacher. “Vremia novykh nadezhd…”. Perepiska 1986–1992 (“A Time of Renewed Hopes…”. Correspondence 1986–1992). Moscow, AIRO-XXI Publ., 2014. 510 p. (in Russian).
  • Jameson F. The Benjamin Files. London, New York, Verso Publ., 2020. 262 p.
  • Lacoue-Labarthe Ph. La Poésie comme expérience. Moscow, Tri kvadrata Publ., 2015. 192 p. (in Russian).
  • Lessing G. E. Laocoon oder Über die Grenzen der Malerei und Poesie. Lessing G. E. Izbrannye proizvedeniia (Selected Works). Moscow, Khudozhestvennaia literatura Publ., 1953, pp. 385–516 (in Russian).
  • Negri A. Approximations towards an Ontological Definition of the Multitude, trans. by A. Bove. 2003. URL: (accessed 14 February 2021) .
  • Obraztsov Iu. “Death Will Be Overcome through the Effort of Resurrection”. Vadim Sidur’s Exhibition “War and Peace” Has Opened in the Manege Central Exhibition Hall. Vechernii Sankt-Peterburg (The Evening Petersburg). 18.08.2017, no. 74 (168). Available at: (accessed 14 February 2021).
  • Sidur Iu. Afterword. Sidur V. Samaia schastlivaia osen’. Stikhotvoreniia 1983–1986 gg. (Happiest Autumn. Poems 1983–1986). Moscow, 1990, pp. 154–157 (in Russian).
  • Sidur M. A Message from Atlantis (Foreword). Sidur V. Pamiatnik sovremennomu sostoianiiu: Mif (Monument to the Contemporary Condition: Myth (Part 1)). Moscow, Vagrius Publ., 2002, pp. 3–32 (in Russian).
  • Sidur V. Samaia schastlivaia osen’. Stikhotvoreniia 1983–1986 gg. (Happiest Autumn. Poems 1983–1986). Moscow, 1990. 160 p. (in Russian).
  • Vasianin A. A Show Marking Vadim Sidur’s Anniversary Has Opened in Moscow. Rossiiskaia gazeta (Russian Newspaper). 27.06.2014. Available at: (accessed 14 February 2021).