Creative Dialogue In Informal Art Associations: Axiological Aspect


The aim of the article is to study the axiological aspect of the creative dialogue of participants of informal art associations as a form of artistic communication. An axiological approach, that is based on identifying the value bases of the activities of these communities in the context of national culture and intercultural interaction, seems to be perspective. The use of typological, diachronic and synchronic methods made it possible to reveal the research topic more deeply. The importance of communicative tasks is highlighted as a fundamental value characteristic of the activities of informal art associations. The key concept is creative dialogue, which is defined as not only speech communication, but also the exchange of ideas and a joint creative act. An important condition for the implementation of this dialogue is the ease of communication and friendly competition. The importance of the axiological function of art associations is established. It consists in the assimilation of cultural values by society that are embodied in the results of the creative activity of the participants. Informal art communities can be an alternative to radical political tendencies in society, since the activities of the participants are creative, aimed at the benefit of society. Creative dialogue is not only a "horizontal" type of communication within an artistic association and outside of it in the process of intercultural interaction, but also a "vertical" one - based on interest in the national heritage and the transfer of the results of creative searches to the younger generation.

Keywords: Axiology, artistic associations, creative dialogue, communication


Relevance of the research topic

In modern culture, the predominance of remote means of interaction between people is becoming more pronounced against the background of a shortage of live communication; in accordance with this, the problem of organizing artistic communication is urgent. In post-Soviet Russia, there are various ways of artistic association, of both an official nature and informal communities, which provide new opportunities for realizing creative potential, solving socio-cultural problems and demonstrating protest, which are not available in standard forms.

In connection with the democratic transformation of Russian society, the role of public organizations in culture has grown significantly. The object of the study should be not only professional collectives, but also such informal artistic associations as societies, salons, clubs and other forms of community. The study of the value bases of their activities, as well as the specifics of artistic communication and intercultural interaction is an urgent cultural task.

The degree of development of the problem

Art associations have been the object of study for a long time. Nevertheless this literature is mainly of an art and literary nature. Works dedicated to specific art associations in Russia (Aronson, 2000; Parshin, 1993; Paston, 2003) are of great importance, as they contain information about who was part of the group, what its members did, and what topics were covered in their work. Researchers pay attention to both individual areas of activity of art communities and options for the transformation of forms of artistic communication in Russia by the beginning of the XXI century (Borodaj, 2015; D'yachenko, 2014; Kuz'min, 1998; Sid & Ermakova, 2005).

The works of Jacobs (1985), Lübbren (2001), Wilhelmi (2006) and others are devoted to foreign art associations. In recent years, such authors as Frohnapfel (2020), Guerrero-Rippberger (2012), Hansen (2014), Zamora and Spradlin (2019), have shown scientific interest in this problem. Their analysis is significant for the comparative characteristics of the activities of domestic and foreign art communities.

It is also worth noting the research on creative dialogue (Brandford, 2007; Broussine, 2008; Kahn, 2013; Rogers & Chavez, 2019), which reveals various aspects of this concept, as well as modern possibilities of artistic communication (Zhang & Sun, 2020). Nevertheless, paying tribute to the contribution of all the above-mentioned authors to the study of the topic, we can state that the specifics of creative dialogue within the framework of informal art groups have not become the subject of special research both in a broad socio-cultural and axiological context.

Scientific novelty and theoretical and methodological foundations of the study

The study of informal art associations took place mainly from the point of view of art criticism, and the attention of researchers was mainly drawn to the communities of the XIX-XX centuries. In this regard, today there is an obvious gap in the theoretical understanding of the value bases of their activities, as well as in the correlation of cultural heritage with modern forms of creative organization, which is the task of this article. To solve the problem of research, it is the culturological approach with the emphasis on the axiological aspect, based on the identification of the value specificity of this form of artistic communication in the context of national culture and intercultural interaction that is promising.

The research tasks outlined by the author necessitated the application of an axiological approach to the study of the stated problem. The works of Dokuchaev (2009), Kagan (1997), Lebedev (2020), Melville et al. (2019) present the understanding of value as one of the most important foundations of culture. According to Vyzhletsov (2017), "value problems are today the end result of all types and levels of knowledge that are addressed directly to a person and affect his/her life and destiny" (p. 280). Petrov (2020) notes that since the essence of culture is dialogical, it is relevant to study the creation and consumption of cultural values by different groups of society. We consider methodologically significant for the study the understanding that the category of value is not limited to its functional meaning for a person, but can be represented in culture by an idea embodied in a social phenomenon, which as a result is perceived by a person as a good for his/her life. A striking example of this is the activity of informal art communities in culture.

When studying the specifics of artistic communication, we consider it promising to use a systematic approach in our work (Kronenfeld, 2018; Zhilenko, 2020). The study of artistic associations as a system allows us to identify the variety of connections that take place both within the object and in its relationship with the cultural environment. It is worth noting the ideas of Bibler (1991), who studies culture from the point of view of the dialogue of cultures. The nature of dialogical interaction both within informal art associations in Russia and with representatives of other cultures, as well as in the process of addressing cultural heritage, allows us to reveal more deeply the phenomenon of these unions in culture.

Problem Statement

The problem of the research is based on the contradiction between the significant historical, cultural, and promising role of informal associations in artistic communication, their research in the art history aspect, and the lack of a proper cultural analysis of their activities with the identification of the axiological specifics of the creative dialogue of the participants.

Research Questions

The object of this research is informal artistic associations in the culture of Russia.

The subject of the research is the creative dialogue of the participants of these associations as a form of artistic communication.

Purpose of the Study

The aim of the article is to identify the axiological aspect of the creative dialogue of participants of informal art associations as a form of artistic communication.

Research Methods

The following methods are used in this study.

Analytical review

The method of analytical review of scientific works in the field of cultural studies, philosophy, art history, psychology is used to clarify the conceptual apparatus of research and determine its methodological foundations.

Typological method

Using the typological method, various types of informal artistic associations are distinguished.

Diachronic and synchronic methods

The diachronic method allows us to compare different periods of the associations’ development, and the synchronic method allows us to compare the coexisting forms of artistic communication: a society, a salon, a club, and others.

Structural and functional method

We also consider the structural-functional method for analysing the axiological function of creative associations in culture to be significant in this work.


In the culture of Russia, as well as in Europe, there were various forms of activity of the creative intellectuals, within which the creation of works of art took place, as well as the process of artistic communication, which is closely related to general cultural phenomena. These forms include societies, salons, parties, clubs, magazines, schools, and official art associations. Each of them can be distinguished by its own characteristics, based on such criteria as areas of activity, target groups, regulatory status, sources of funding, etc., which we discussed in more detail earlier (Kirilova, 2014). This article analyses the activities of informal art associations in Russia, but we note that there was an exchange of creative ideas in the process of their cross-cultural communication with foreign communities of artists in Bexleyheath, Worpswede, Darmstadt, Ruovesi, Moore, Sundborn and other cultural centres. The heyday of informal forms of artistic communication falls on the period of the XIX – early XX centuries (Abramtsevo Art Society, Mendeleev's Wednesdays, Moscow Literary and Artistic Club, literary club "Wednesday", the association "World of Art" and many others). In the Soviet period, there were prevailed official societies with institutional consolidation, such as the Artists' Union of the USSR, the Union of Soviet Writers and their regional branches, which significantly distinguishes their value orientations from the object of research.

In the post-Soviet period, representatives of artistic culture again try various informal options for creative organization. Among them are the "Club 81", the salon "Territory of Eloquence", the St. George Club, the Crimean Club (Sid & Ermakova, 2005), the community "Image and Thought", the art groups "War" and "CAT", and others. The transition era in the process of value-based cultural reorientation required new ideas and forms of artistic communication. Kuz'min (1998, para. 10) notes that: "in a purely private setting, a genre of literary life that seems to have died out has been preserved – a meeting with a writer that involves ... a friendly conversation between the author and his/her readers and colleagues". It is not only the art itself that is perceived as meaningful, but also the conversation about art. The importance of communicative tasks and the dialogical beginning is a fundamental value characteristic of modern informal art associations.

In the early 2000s, communities with a less rigid program and a more free nature of events became particularly popular, as well as those that offered participants not only oral communication, but also, for example, publications of texts such as "Classics of the XXI Century" and "Authornik". Among the new trends, the researchers mark the convergence of such informal associations with business, bookstores and cafes (creative meetings at the Bookbury and Falanster stores). Previously, they were based mainly in libraries, museums, private offices and art workshops. The club network "O.G.I. Project", which combined a club, a publishing house, a bookstore, a library, a website, and a cafe (Sid & Ermakova, 2005), was particularly well-known as a multifunctional space for creative dialogue. Social intimacy and ease of communication are important conditions for artistic communication during this period.

Studying informal art associations as a cultural phenomenon, we consider it important to emphasize the diversity of functions that they perform in the culture of a particular period (Kirilova, 2015). Based on the methodological foundations of this article, it should be mentioned that one of their most important functions is axiological, since culture is, first of all, a concentration of values. This function is revealed through the assimilation of cultural values by the society, embodied in the results of creative activity within the association. Of course, since the XIX century, members of art communities have created a large number of works of art that currently have significant material value. But we should not separate this side from the spiritual side. They are, first of all, the creation of unique personalities who have invested their imagination in the works, and represent their own creative version of the author's vision of the place of man in the world. The combination of beauty and utility was one of the key value bases of the activities of such communities.

It should be noted that the artistic groups in the culture of Russia in the second half of the XIX – early XX century, being aimed at creation, represented an alternative to the revolutionary-radical socio-political trends in Russian society. At the turn of the XX-XXI centuries, when we observe the manifestations of these trends in art, these opportunities of creative communities are especially relevant. In the context of this article, it should be stated that the desire to create is based on dialogical relations; it is in them that the creative potential of the individual is realized. According to Nemchinova (2013), "the 'dialogic man' cannot be a destroyer, since the dialogue testifies to the richness of his/her connections with the world... dialogue is always development, interaction, it is always unification, not destruction" (p. 76). Bybler noted that during dialogical interaction of a person with another person, "one's own other" is born, in contrast to the conflict, in which forced interaction is structured according to the principle of the binary opposition "one's own – another's". In dialogue, however, there is no alienation, only difference (Bibler, 1991, p. 360). Creativity, carried out in the space of dialogue, should be constructive, creative and have as its ultimate goal the good of man and society. All these features were present in the activities of participants of informal art associations in Russia.

Effective dialogue consists of various components. Kaigorodova (2005) distinguishes among them the following: "personal qualities of the speaker, communicative interest... the topic of the dialogue... the correspondence of the speech behaviour of the interlocutors to the nature of their interpersonal and social relationships... external circumstances" (p. 162). Broussine (2008) notes that "dialogue enables people who are trying to work together... to reveal, encounter and capture the nature, origins and consequences of sense-making processes in the 'here and now' of human interactions in organizations" (p. 55). At the same time, it should be emphasized that by creative dialogue we mean not only speech communication, but also the exchange of ideas, skills, and a joint creative act. According to Tikhonova (2009), "dialogue is a co-existence or a meeting of consciousnesses and cultures" (p. 73).

Creative dialogue is a means of realizing the aesthetic views of the participants of informal art associations and developing the creativity of the individual, understood as the ability to create. The concept of creativity was explored in more detail by Brandt (2021). The activity of such communities both in the second half of the XIX – early XX century and at the turn of the XX-XXI centuries took place in the process of changes in the aesthetic views of Russian cultural figures. And it was easier to make this transition in an informal context, in the free creative dialogue, than in the scope of the official spheres of art.

A striking example is the activity of the Abramtsevo Art Society, in which it is difficult to identify the line that separated the home game from the artistic event with great social role. Memoirs and letters contain information that adds a new characteristic of the society and the essence of its activities. The sources intertwine reviews of events both creative and relevant to everyday life in Abramtsevo. There is evidence that the creative dialogue often acquired a touch of competition. Friendly competition contributed to the discovery of new options for self-realization of participants in creativity. The topic of competition in art communities as a way of developing art is also currently addressed by Karstein (2020).

It should be marked that the first type of collective activity of the participants of the Abramtsevo Art Society, and, accordingly, the creative dialogue, were theatrical productions. The creation of performances on the home stage contributed to the formation of a special environment for the development of individual creativity, since they were an incentive for the creative search of the members of the society in various types of art. Ishiguro notes that artists can often find inspiration from viewing the works of other masters to develop their creativity (Ishiguro & Okada, 2020). Creativity involves an active attitude to the world and the transformation of reality, which is a significant value orientation of the participants of art associations.

As Lotman (1994) states, art is the experience of what did not happen, or what can happen (p. 434-435). Thus, art is a kind of model of life. Many creative innovations have become a reality thanks to the special atmosphere of associations – friendly, artistic, providing opportunities for free creative expression. Trying themselves in different fields of art, the artists discovered new ways of creative dialogue that go beyond the professional framework.

It should be noted that often informal art associations become agents of both the processes of artistic transformation in the culture of Russia and the processes of intercultural interaction with other countries. A striking example in modern culture is the activity of the Russian "Club of Friends of Madagascar", organized in 2000. Over two decades of activity, the club has organized many joint socio-cultural projects.

Undoubtedly, there was no official aesthetic program in informal art associations. Aesthetic principles were developed in the process of creative dialogue. The diverse activities of the members of an art association should be considered as different manifestations of their creative search and the result of artistic communication. An informal artistic association is an environment for collective creativity, for the realization of the need for communication and the exchange of ideas. Within its framework, conditions are created that meet the needs for creative dialogue. New artistic ideas appear in a free family or friendly environment. Such a community is not only a horizontal type of intellectual and artistic network, bringing together friends and like-minded people, but also a vertical one (on the principle of "teacher – student"), since often the younger generation is also involved in active creative activities.

As an example, we will give the association of the turn of the XX-XXI centuries "Authornik", within which creative evenings "Antiphon" were held. The two authors recited their poems one after the other, in a live dialogue mode. Thanks to this, each poem was perceived in contrast, emphasizing the general and special in poetics. In addition, young poets were actively invited, which created a vertical dialogue, a "bridge between generations" (Kuz'min, 1998).

The continuity of generations in the Russian culture is a significant part of the creative dialogue. In the informal association aesthetic views were perceived by the younger generation of artists, who implemented innovative ideas on the basis of a cultural foundation. The importance of the community as a "circle of its own" lies in its openness, among other things. The creative person, coming to the group, found points of contact with other cultural figures, was involved in the process of artistic search, developing their own creativity. And later, even outside the association, the artist influenced the further development of culture, carrying out a dialogue with the spectator and subsequent epochs through his/her work.

Thus, we can talk not only about the "horizontal" creative dialogue between like-minded people in the group, but also about the "vertical" one that transmits the results of creative searches to the next generation. So, thanks to the activities of various informal art communities, a dialogue of cultures is generally carried out, which is the enduring value of these associations.


Thus, in the article we presented a variant of cultural understanding of such a form of artistic communication as informal artistic associations, with the emphasis on the axiological aspect as the key theoretical and methodological basis of the study. We will summarize the results of the work and outline the prospects for further research.

As a perspective for further research, we note that the combination of axiological and personological approaches will allow us to explore the stated problems from the point of view of the personal aspect. Namely, they allow one to find out how the value orientations of the organizers and participants of informal art associations were formed and their further implementation in the process of creative communication.


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02 December 2021

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Kirilova, A. V. (2021). Creative Dialogue In Informal Art Associations: Axiological Aspect. In O. Kolmakova, O. Boginskaya, & S. Grichin (Eds.), Language and Technology in the Interdisciplinary Paradigm, vol 118. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 51-60). European Publisher.