“How Terrible, Dmitri Aleksandrovich!”: Prigov’s Monsters

Keywords: Russian poetry of the 1970s–1990s; D. A. Prigov; monstrosity; new anthropology; conceptualism; performance


This article considers the theme of monstrosity, a leitmotif in the creative work of D. A. Prigov that manifests itself on different levels in his works from The Bestiary, an extensive graphic series (1970–2000) containing fiction, poetic cycles, and performances. The role of this leitmotif is determined by the author’s interest in transformability, transitivity, and synthesis: Prigov’s poetic and artistic experiments illustrate his reaction to upgraded human experience as reflected in medialisation, cyborgisation, virtualisation, etc. Special attention should be paid to Prigov’s new anthropology, which proclaims a universal cultural crisis and the radicalism of technological innovations, i. e. so-called meta-computer extremes altering the idea of a human being, which looks promising due to the possibility of combining zoomorphic, human, and technological features. Together with this, monstrosity is a notion that can be extrapolated from the figurative vocabulary of Moscow conceptualism, where gesture and artistic strategy were considered key elements in the creative process. The figure of the monster rejects and refutes the traditional primacy of text as part of cultural space. Henceforth, text is just a deictic form of a materialised idea accompanying everchanging performative and behavioural practices.

Author Biography

Yaroslava Ismukova

PhD Candidate, Institute of Russian Literature (Pushkin House) of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

4, Makarov Embankment, 199034, St Petersburg, Russia.

ORCID 0000-0002-2599-1475



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How to Cite
Ismukova, Y. (2019). “How Terrible, Dmitri Aleksandrovich!”: Prigov’s Monsters. Quaestio Rossica, 7(2), 442–457. https://doi.org/10.15826/qr.2019.2.386
Problema voluminis