Cover. “Metki”, n. 8 1979. Source: Samizdat Collections, University of Toronto.

Title of the magazine:
“Metki po novoi zhivopisi” [Signs of the new painting]

Dates: 8 August 1975-March 1980

Place of publication: Moscow

Editors: Vitalii Gribkov, Vladimir Petrov

Main contributors: Al’fred Solianov, Pavel Barbashov, Vadim Lugovskii

Founded in 1975 by Vitalii Gribkov and Vladimir Petrov who was already writing for the periodical “Iskusstvo kommuny”, “Metki po novoj zhivopisi” was published from 1975 to 1980.  In total there were 12 issues without a precise periodicity (in 1975 there were three issues, in 1976 only one, in 1977 two, in 1978 one, and in 1979 and 1980 two per year). The second part of the title – “po novoi zhivopisi” – appeared only in the first two issues.
As indicated in the statement of intent published in the first issue (August 1975) and in the article Prosteishie poiasneniia k smyslu (semantike) poniatiia “metka” (Very simple clarifications on the meaning (semantics) of the concept “sign”, 5, January 1977), the magazine owed much to structural poetics and aimed to compile a “system of notes” (sistema metok), in which theory (the system) and practice (the notes) would could meet in the fields of figurative art and technique (masterstvo; cf. Gribkov 1999: 3; Semenenko-Basin 2014: 51).
The magazine was born from the “Fiktsiia” group (active between 1965 and 1974) and notes from seminars on aesthetics held in 1973 and 1974. It intended to create an intellectual space in which the editors and their friends could discuss abstract and objective art. The magazine often contained news about Soviet and international exhibitions, as well as statements from other periodicals or newspapers such as “Sovetskaia kul’tura” (Soviet Culture) and “Trud” (Labour).
Theoretical articles on the value of art and new pictorial experiments appeared, such as Kraski i usrednennie tsveta (1, 1975), Na poroge patafiziki (5, 1977) and chapters from Petrov and Gribkov’s volume Konstruirovanie sistemy zhivopisi (2, 1975; 5, 1977; 6, 1977; 9, 1979; 10, 1980; 12, 1980). Alongside such material were poems and stories by authors active in the 1920s, such as Aleksei Kamenskii (4, 1976), and contemporary authors, such as Petrov (2, 1975) and Fred Solianov (pseudonym of Al’fred Mikhailovich Solianov, 2, 1975), whose text fragments and score of the song Sozhalenie (Regret, 2, 1975) were published. Aphorisms and quotations, especially from the books Proshloe v nastoiashchem (The Past in the Present) by philosopher and mathematician Vasilii Nalimov (7, 1978) and Kul’t, religiia i kul’tura (Cult, Religion and Culture) by Pavel Florenskii (9, 1978), embellished the magazine’s pages. Translations of Charles Baudelaire (by Petrov, Iu. Freidin, 2, 1975) and letters by Kandinskii (4, 1976) were published from time to time. Sketches, photographs, slides, and images of various types and sizes were also published, arranged according to the principles of conceptual art and collage to create a continuous cross-over of communicative languages.  Among the magazine’s authors, P. Barbashov (1, 1975) and Sergei Roshchin (2, 1975) stand out.
In issue 3 of 1975, Gribkov and Petrov left the editorship to Lev Rubinshtein, Nikita Alekseev and Andrej Monastyrskii, who not only changed the format (a folding booklet of two stapled A3 sheets), but also produced a magazine somewhere between experimental literature and a work of art (cf. Parisi 2013: 305). Their short, ironic and at times nonsensical commentaries were typewritten and signed and bore the date and time they were written. The number of pages varied from 20 to 70.

Notes: The journal can be consulted online at the Samizdat Collection of the University of Toronto. Original copies are kept at the Research Centre for East European Studies at the University of Bremen.


Giuseppina Larocca
[30th June 2021]

Translation by Iris Karafillidis


  • Gribkov V., Parallel’naia kul’tura: integrativnoe napravlenie v sovremennoi rossiskoi kul’ture, Smysl’, Moskva 1999.
  • Parisi V., Il lettore eccedente. Edizioni periodiche del samizdat sovietico 1956-1990, Il Mulino, Bologna 2013: 302-306.
  • Semenenko-Basin I. V., Vokrug zhurnala ‘Metki’, in I. Semenenko-Basin (ed.), Metki: Gruppa ‘Fikciya’ Vitaliya Gribkova i chudozhestvennaya zhizn’ 60-80-ch godov, Galerie Serge, Moskva 2014: 47-71.

To cite this article:
Giuseppina Larocca, Metki, in Voci libere in URSS. Letteratura, pensiero, arti indipendenti in Unione Sovietica e gli echi in Occidente (1953-1991), a cura di C. Pieralli, M. Sabbatini, Firenze University Press, Firenze 2021-, <>.
eISBN 978-88-5518-463-2
© 2021 Author(s)
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