25 November 2019
No. 7, from "Postcards" Series, signed, titled and dated 1992 on the reverse.
Acrylic and collage with a postcard on canvas, 180 by 130 cm.
Provenance: Private collection, Italy.
Important private collection, Switzerland.
This auction presents a collection of works (lots 32–49, 52–54) by artists belonging to the Moscow conceptual circle. It is a most interesting and very characteristic selection of artworks from the turn of the 1980s–1990s by such significant artists of the older generation as Igor Makarevich, Ivan Chuikov, Andrei Monastyrsky, Anatoly Slepyshev, Dmitry Prigov, and of those belonging to the “new wave”, like Konstantin Zvezdochetov, Pavel Pepperstein, Alexander Yakut and others.
Like most of the striking unofficial artworks of the time, they were bought into a private Western collection. Thus, they not only offer us a fully preserved, contemporaneous cross-section of the “artistic process” in the late 1980s and early 1990s; they are also undoubtedly works of their time — something that is becoming especially important today, in the age of total autoreproduction.
It is not hard to understand the interest shown by the collector in these artists and their works, and in particular in a new generation, which was freely and ironically developing and reinterpreting the ideas behind Moscow Conceptualism. For artists who had inherited Conceptualist ideas, the turn of the 1980s–1990s was a time for moulding their own style, a style that largely shaped the “new wave” in Russian art.
An interest in mass-media and grassroots culture (an edifying school poster, a postage stamp, a postcard, a text used in a slogan) that is so evident in the works presented had been typical of the Conceptualists back in the 1970s. However, the “new wave” creators’ use of the primitivism seen in everyday printing output was coloured by the new tones of a subtle intellectual game and the contextual interpretation of old meanings.
Here the range of subjects presented in the collection is very revealing. It includes homage paid to avant-garde figures of the early twentieth century (Kazimir Malevich and Sergei Eisenstein), images meant for mass consumption (Soviet symbols, comics and advertising) and classical European art motifs (landscape, portrait and pastoral)
Notes on symbols:
* Indicates 5% Import Duty Charge applies.
Ω Indicates 20% Import Duty Charge applies.
§ Indicates Artist's Resale Right applies.
† Indicates Standard VAT scheme applies, and the rate of 20% VAT will be charged on both hammer price and premium.