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Rayonism (French rayon = "ray, beam"), which was called Luchism in Russia, was introduced by the painter Michail Fjodorowitsch Larionow (1881-1964) as a tendency within the pre-revolutionary Russian avant-garde. The first rayonist works were made around 1908, the movement lost in importance at the time of World War I.
Russian Neo-Primitivism, which can be regarded as a variation of Expressionism, was the basis for Rayonism. By integrating orphist, cubist and most of all futurist elements, it attained a style that seemed to consist of bundled rays of light. Works of Rayonism are characterized by an abstract composition of overlapping faceted color fields in form of bundled light rays, this effect was achieved by means of color floodlights.
The first rayonist exhibition took place in 1912, it was called "Der Eselsschwanz" (Donkey's Tail), presenting programmatic works by Larionow. Larionow published the fundamental writing "Rayonism" a year later, and, together with the painter Natalija Goncharowa (1881-1962), he released the "Rayonistic Manifesto". The painting's entelechy - a principle of abstract art - was clearly emphasized in the theoretic works. Rayonism marked the beginning of the important Russian avant-garde developments of Constructivism and an absolute abstraction.
Among the main representatives of Rayonism are, besides Michail Fjodorowitsch Larionow and Natalija Goncharowa, David Burliuk (1882-1967), his brother Wladimir Burliuk and Mikhail Ledentu.