The Queue For Serov: The Phenomenon Of Russianness


  • Irina Vepreva
  • Natalia Kupina



Referring to mass media materials for January, 2016 and a variety of Internet sources, the authors consider some statements and texts describing and estimating a cultural event – an exhibition organized by the Tretyakov Art Gallery and devoted to the 150th birthday anniversary of artist Valentin Serov (October, 2015 – January, 2016). The public’s tempestuous reaction caused by hours-long queuing in the frost in January was reflected in the mirror of language. As a result, the queue for Serov started being used as a set expression in speech. The purpose of the paper is to put forward an interpretation of the mental puzzle of the queue to see Serov’s works pointing out the manifestations of the phenomenon of Russianness, with reference to a linguo-cultural analysis of the speech and text corpus, reflecting the shock situation in question. The article is structured according to the analytical answers to questions, representing public opinion: Why do people queue? Why do people queue to see Serov? What did the queue for Serov demonstrate? The article systematizes comments of art critics, cultural studies scholars, philologists, journalists, and also people who queued to see the exhibition. “Serov passion” enabled the authors to reveal such sides of Russianness as the stability of the rational and the irrational dichotomy, the perception of the irrational as a natural thing, a tendency to joint thinking, sympathy, empathy, a combination of patience and quick temperedness, the domination of the spiritual over the material, the life-asserting need for the beautiful, as well as to catch the energy of the common emotional and aesthetic choice, and feel the genuine nature of the common drive. The analysis demonstrates that all these lead to the emergence of a conceptual metaphor “the queue for Serov is Russia”, based on stereotypes of national exceptionality, and uniqueness. In accordance with the laws of carnivalization, the bias of this conceptualization is burlesqued. Furthermore, the authors reveal another facet of the phenomenon of Russianness, i. e. selfirony that makes not only the latest case-law situation its object, but also the sore spots of modern Russian space – political, economic, legal, and social.


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How to Cite

Vepreva, I., & Kupina, N. (2016). The Queue For Serov: The Phenomenon Of Russianness. Quaestio Rossica, 4(2), 95–108.



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