My Twin Brother in Russia

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Iulian found this picture. Indeed, this guy seems to be me 🙂 Thanks, Iuli!


Written by Andrei Stavilă

mai 13, 2008 la 9:45 am

3 răspunsuri

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  1. Iti spun si care ii e numele: Vitaly Komar (artist iudeo-rus emigrat in US). Poza e din 1975, se afla la Zimmerli Museum din Campusul Rutgers Univ. si ilustreaza un performance numit „PRAVDA Burgers.” Komar a semnat lucrari impreuna cu Alexander Melamid (celalalt din poza) pina prin 2003-4. In 2007, Komar a avut o expozitie chiar la Moscova. Asa arata acum:

    Citeva date despre cei doi:

    ” Soc-art began as an artistic project dreamed up on the cusp of the 1970s by Vitalii Komar and Alexander Melamid, who were later joined by other artists. The very fact that in 1972 artists invented a name for the new Soviet avant-garde which was internationally comprehensible and „exportable” („soc-art” was „pop-art” under socialist conditions) bespeaks their ambition to position themselves within a specific context and their aim to criticize radically all absolute categories. These artists asserted that the excess of consumer goods which formed the environment for American pop-art was unknown to Soviet citizens; however, they were flooded with the overproduction of socialist ideology, and could identify with it just as ironically as Andy Warhol identified with a can of Campbell’s soup. Unlike the pop-artists, Komar and Melamid worked not only with various visual clichés, but also with verbal, social, and behavioral models, which is why soc-art may be understood as a component of conceptualism, and why Komar’s and Melamid’s works appeared both as paintings and objects, manifestoes and performances.

    By repeating (literally or approximately) Soviet ideological emblems, these artists used deconstructive criticism „through tautology” – this approach could be seen in embryonic form in 1920s art (particularly in Malevich’s later work and in Kliment Redko’s 1925 painting „The Revolt,” which depicted contemporary heads of state). The artists demonstrated their subversive identification with the authorities in a theatrical setting as well, with the performance „Pravda Burgers” (1975), during which they passed the newspaper through a meat-grinder and cooked up the paper patties to represent the Soviet citizen’s banal daily fare.

    Komar and Melamid began their joint artistic effort by simultaneously revealing the pretense both of Soviet ideology and of liberal poetics of authorship: their portraits of themselves and their friends mimicked the officious style of paintings of Soviet leaders (for instance, „Double Self-Portrait,” 1973, now in a private collection in the United States, parodied a mosaic of Lenin and Stalin in profile). In addition, they signed their own names to anonymous slogans on red banners („Onward to Communist Victory,” 1972, Dodge Collection in the Zimmerly Museum at Rutgers University, New Jersey), rendering meaningless not only a Soviet slogan (since personal authorship devalues it) but also the concept of personal expression (which is devalued by banality and ideological „lies”).

    Komar’s and Melamid’s subversive identification with the language of the authorities was, to a significant degree, conditional upon the dual nature of their authorship. As previously stated, the structure of authorship as it emerged in the Russian avant-garde resembled a pyramid, with the top author as conscious creator who produced a collective unconscious author and a collective unconscious audience. Early avant-garde artists (particularly Malevich and El Lissitzky) identified with this role of chief manipulator to the end, but by the end of the 1920s (when it became evident that the role of chief creator had been usurped by Stalin) the later avant-garde generation began to try on the role of subversive identification with the collective consumer rather than the singular super-narrator. The Oberiut poets followed this plan when they attempted to create a group around Malevich in 1926, a group which would also include an artistic division. During these years, Daniel Kharms wrote: „One man thinks logically, many people’s thoughts flow… I may be only one man, but my thoughts flow.” [12] The Oberiuts, particularly Kharms and Nikolai Oleinikov, already had an approach to „being characters,” which would later be realized in soc-art. Characteristically, other groups (such as „The Nest” and „Fly-Agaric”) joined Komar and Melamid in their radical identification with an alien language. Meanwhile, solitary soc-artists such as Alexander Kosolapov and Leonid Sokov gravitated more toward the pole of authorship than toward the pole of radical characterization.

    Soc-art did not aim to contrast truth with untruth, but to acknowledge the unavoidable ideological (untrue) character of all expression. Komar and Melamid constructed an entire series of works around the principle of total signification. Colors were assigned letter values (so that „Ideological Abstraction No. 1” [private collection, United States], for example, encodes the constitutional article dealing with freedom of speech) and healing powers (as in the panel „Color Therapy,” 1975, private collection, United States). This last project parodies Kandinsky’s color symbolism and the general perception of art as a direct link between means (understood almost in a medicinal sense, as remedy) and aesthetic results. Soc-art reveals the conditional nature of language in everything that aspires to unconditional truth. Its methodology provides a sort of reductionist lock-pick for any culture, ideology, or religion, instantly revealing their active mechanisms. Komar’s and Melamid’s installation „Heaven” (1973), which they displayed in a Moscow apartment over the course of several years, presented an environment densely and chaotically packed with painted and sculpted symbols of various ideologies, religions, and everyday habits (for instance, drunkenness). Visitors entered „Heaven” in the dark, by the light of an electric flashlight and to the strains of Soviet radio. If the soc-art project was indeed radically reductive, its style certainly could not be called ascetic; on the contrary, Komar and Melamid mocked all asceticism (particularly „white space”) as religious pretense. Like the dadaists before them, they managed to achieve purity of method without purity of style, almost totally bypassing art’s mystical component (and even its emotional component, which is very difficult to eradicate).

    In 1975, Komar and Melamid emigrated from the Soviet Union and settled in New York. After their departure they spent some time on dadaist, absurdist projects (for instance, taking responsibility for the 1979 earthquake in Iran or the „Soul-Selling” auction of 1979, during which Andy Warhol sold his soul to the artists). In their series „Nostalgic Social Realism” (1981-82) they returned to the painting format, this time parodying classical salon painting of the nineteenth century (both in manner and subject matter—Stalin is pictured surrounded by muses) and presenting it as the beautiful, true face of social realism, revealed only to the nostalgic gaze of those who are exiled from that paradise.

    In the 1980s, soc-art ceased to be Komar’s and Melamid’s exclusive artistic province. Several artists close to them in sprit, with whom they had worked before, emigrated to the United States, and the New York curator Margarita Tupitsyn organized a series of group soc-art exhibits, hoping to present it as a national variation on postmodernism, akin to the well-known German neo-expressionism and Italian trans-avant-garde of that time. [13] This project succeeded, but soc-art’s conceptualism remained rather vague. Many artists who joined the soc-art movement were not conceptualists — they did not analyze the all-consuming textuality of Soviet culture and everyday life, but rather relished its plastic character” (Ekaterina Dyogot, „Russian Art in the Second Half of the Twentieth Century”)


    mai 13, 2008 at 10:03 pm

  2. poza e facuta chiar de noi in muzeul Zimmerli…


    mai 14, 2008 at 6:28 pm

  3. Da, interesant… Merci fain si pentru detalii


    mai 15, 2008 at 6:23 am

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