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This article covers the issue of the contradictions within avantgarde aesthetics as well as the historiography of these contradictions, which are embedded in its theory and critique, with a specific focus on Jan Mukařovský’s theory elaborated in the mid-thirties. Written in the structuralist tradition, his essay “Dialectic Contradictions in Modern Art” seems to be overlooked by contemporary scholars. However, due to its aporetical approach it still has the potential to initiate a new understanding of the main features of the artistic avant-garde, beyond the neo-marxist analytical approach that can be found in Peter Bürger’s Theory of the Avant-Garde. The questions raised in this article also concern the possibility of new approaches to avant-garde paradoxes, which would clarify the phenomenon itself as well as its more up-to-date consequences.

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