In its Absence


Did Painting exercise considerable influence in absentia in the West and placed Sovietism on the rack in the East? That would be a yes. The expanding over-reaction that negativised the medium of Painting was a fierce competitive and predictable eruption that articulated a mutual expansion and mutual annexation of cultural antipathy. Never before had the elephant in the room (Painting) been so war-torn a no man's land where cultural bunkers and trenches were dug to unearth mutual cultural and aesthetic enmity on ideological forums where moral high grounds became a Darwinian survivalism of who chokes first !


The very Soviet asset of manipulating western youth rebellion actually operated to emasculate Western balance, democracy and capitalism by intimidation and provocation to flood the lungs and destroy the heart of western youth culture, already cautious and optimistic but loyal critics of preceding generations. That's their job ! To Protest and change things from the outside and from within ? To confront and then to acquire power to amend and transform? But the USSR saw that liberty as a weakness to exploit and not a strength that enables and is restorative. Of course we can make quite a case for a virtual absence or lack of high profile of Russian youth culture, except those conscripts who invaded Hungary and Czechoslovakia, who were taunted by the young women of Prague and Budapest who mocked and shunned those sitting in Russian tanks invading someone else's home patch, instead of being a normal teenager having fun and demonstrating for change, liberty and self-emancipation like everybody else entrusted to renew and evolve!! Too right the UK youth resented global recessions, OPEC for controlling prices, governments, 3 day weeks, strikes fears of scandal and statism and nuclear war etc Too right punk was just a fashion that let in post-hippy, post-punk, heroes and villains, youth cults and social alienation, but just when the USSR wanted to incite conflict the exact opposite happened - Thatcherism peddled the safety valve of synthetic dance music that excluded any other older generation ! From what appeared to be the West's Achilles heel (Youth Culture) whilst the West abandoned controls and convictions from other generations, it revelled in the fact that the East was so immersed in carrying the over-precious cargo of designated youth representation that it was frankly boring ! 'The politics of Dancing, the politics of feeling good !' was just an anthem that young Brits embraced because they didn't care about 'weighty self-inflicting ideological tropes, principles stratagems etc and the West gleefully used its trump card of 'youth culture that's open and free without any hang-ups that crippled the Russian youth that left it fuelled by 'youth-envy' and tormented by a desire to create its own identity that remained unfulfilled That left a ticking time bomb in the heart of Soviet Russia, that even now may not be fully free of?


Not really Soviet China's problem compared with its ex-Soviet Russian ally, because at the heart of Youth cultural dominance is a requirement of tolerance of Capitalism by its 2 systems. And what lies at the core of entrepreneurialism ? Freedom ! In fact, specifically youth culture's need to form its expression to its environment beyond the 'respectable conformism' of business ,commerce and finance!? Capitalism in these areas aren't just acceptable in China today , they have resulted in a chain reaction of aftershocks that followed the 1980's initiation of 2 systems that includes an immediate revolution in Chinese Art that has catapulted China to a global Cultural Capital almost overnight !


From the 1980's Soviet China groomed its 2 systems of Marxist Leninism and Capitalism that involved almost the '3 systems' of Cultural endorsement by Chinese Artists especially promoting contemporary Global Art by the youthful communities of original work. Perhaps China had learnt the significance of 'youth culture' in how Soviet Russia didn't mobilize it in Russia and the disastrous consequences that ended the USSR?! The question for the Chinese was not how to enter the international market, but how to avoid flooding the market because of the global interest in it. Actually the Chinese entrepreneurial spirit enlivened the markets in general but was a cultural-led statement that opened the centre ground of global financial investment back into the Arts per se, without being dependent on state subsidy or state dictat! Certainly Soviet socialist realist introspection by idolizing the 20th century era of Soviet statues of Factories and War heroes became Russian iconoclastic symbols of Soviet failure that contrasted with the original con temporary work from China - self-evidently Chinese systems of government interactivity broke down barriers in culture but preserved the ultimate power of censorship with the Communist Party ! China has indeed evolved the Communist Party in China, but it hasn't transformed Marxist Leninism, it has just side stepped it . It may still await the post Cold War outcome and fortunes of Russia and its 'glorious Capitalist evolution' to pass judgement on the role of Marxism in China. Meanwhile statues of Lenin and Stalin are ridiculed ,melted down, put in junk yards or victims of Western trophy hunters dragging these once revered statues through the detritus of post Cold War Russia to be erected in Hampstead gardens as the spoils of war.


Soviet Russia had attempted to force the West into submission but had only capitulated to an enemy that had western youth rebellion in full blare ; perhaps the ticking time bomb of Youth Culture remains an untapped resource in today's Russian culture? Or are we left with images of Statues of Lenin and Stalin being torn down, like in Iraq vis a vis Saddam Hussein or WOKE people in the UK in Bristol and Liverpool, concerning edifices of those who 'd profited from slavery being publicly ripped down and tossed into the river to sink to the bottom of the river just as they'd sunk to the depths of depravity in their part in the slave trade.? ........but by whom ? By many local young people whose priorities were not based upon melting-down a statue to create a statue with a positive message and contribution to the outlawing of such an evil practice of slavery. Wouldn't burn it down to the ground but replace it humiliating the erstwhile slave-trader profiteer image under the foot and trodden into the dirt didn't actually occur to the directionless mob? Is this cultural rebellion or cultural under-thinking? Or is youth culture just a function of counter-culture that skips generations? Well it skipped almost 70 years in Soviet Russia and look what happened to them !! The genie was not let out of the bottle and so it atrophied and suffocated ! But today's Ukraine are actually engaged in a holy war against Invasion where youth energizes and incentivizes the final retreat of residual Soviet Russian forces from a forgotten age where Ukraine grain (that feeds 400million people) is trapped and unable to export to feed and free the world , and until that changes Ukraine can not bake bread or break bread with many of its supporters! This isn't the first Russian invasion to have entrapped itself in foreign lands (Afghanistan), and we know that the West had to pick-up the pieces from that debacle (when Soviet tanks retreated in failure)that had far-reaching consequences that we are still living with and surviving today notably in 9/11 and 7/7.