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Contemporary Fine Arts of Uzbekistan: From realism to postmodernism


At the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries, the process of Europeanization of the Central Asian region began. A certain stagnation in the development of traditional culture in the changing socio-cultural conditions predetermined the need to introduce new European forms of painting, graphics, and sculpture into the culture of Uzbekistan, or rather Turkestan. In the 1920s, the national school of fine arts in Uzbekistan was formed. During this decade, a unique phenomenon known as the “Turkestani avant-garde” was born, almost all of whose representatives lived and worked in Uzbekistan.

In the 1930s-50s, the fine arts of Uzbekistan, developing in line with the trends of all Soviet art, did not avoid contradictory and dramatic processes. A narrow understanding of socialist realism not as a creative method, but as an artistic style, the assertion of normativity in art, which gave rise to a set of prescriptions for plastic vision, a limited understanding of the meaning of artistic tradition, reducing it primarily to the traditions of Russian culture of the 19th century, limited the full development of art. In the 1960s-80s, a search for new forms of artistic generalization took place, which led to the approval of completely different plastic ideas. From this period, a certain pluralism of various artistic trends in the painting of Uzbekistan sets in, which intensifies during Uzbekistan’s period of independence from 1991 to now.

This article analyzes and classifies the main trends in the contemporary fine arts of Uzbekistan. An important problem in the art of Uzbekistan is preserving national identity in the era of globalization while integrating into the modern world cultural space. The article has practical applications, as it can be used as material on the contemporary art of Uzbekistan and Central Asia in art educational institutions and programs, as well as in the implementation of exhibition projects worldwide. Since the contemporary art of Uzbekistan was mainly covered from the point of view of the work of specific artists, many analytical generalizations were made on the basis of observations and of the author’s own scientific research.


fine art, realism, modernism, postmodernism, humanization of art, national identity in art



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