Artists of the week. Komar and Melamid
ARTinvestment.RU   28 апреля 2010

The founding fathers of social art

ARTinvestment.RU already written about the famous wizard, Sots Art Boris Orlov , but now it is time to talk about the founders of this important trend in Soviet unofficial art. Of course, we mean Vitaly Komar and Alexander Melamid , working in tandem with end of 1960 to 2003. Just arrived in time and reason: last week, April 23, the creativity of these artists installed a new record price . Written in 1972 painting "Meeting Solzhenitsyn and Boll in the country at Rostropovich's" was auctioned at Phillips with a considerable exceeded the estimate - 657,000 pounds in the evaluation of 100-150 thousand.

As Orlov , Komar and Melamid have played with all kinds of recognizable symbols, but the target for irony, they chose not only a totalitarian, but most that on a liberal and democratic. Take the same "Meetings", where we see "all that fond of liberals in Moscow": according to the artists' good bourgeois life "unthinkable not only without the main characters in the movie, but without a crystal cup, fruit on the table (which in artists painted on bourgeois, on-modernist) and spiritual (gold outside recalls the Byzantine mosaics, and the left leg Boll made in the "icon-painting" style). Of course, the theme of Soviet power, they also poironizirovali as follows: it is worth recalling, for example, "Double Portrait" (1973), one of the options which had been destroyed by the authorities on the famous "bulldozer exhibition" in 1974: almost canonical image of two proud "vozhdinyh" profiles, but instead of Lenin and Stalin - Komar and Melamid. This is a social art: the use of visual propaganda in other artistic purposes - as the father of pop art Andy Warhol gently mocked capitalism, manic purveying pictures of his main icons: celebrities, and consumer goods.

One of the key in the creation of Komar and Melamid is the idea of co-authorship: their social art - the result of "collaboration" with thousands of unknown artists, through which developed such a style, as Socialist Realism. Needless to say, that their art is opposed to the popular idea of the artist as a lonely genius which creates its own world. To light appeared on the style, similar to a mosquito-melamidovskomu Sots-art, artists had to learn a lot more established languages. A decisive influence has trained at the Stroganov Art School, which they completed in 1967: while there was a subject called "Style", where students were taught to imitate manners artists of the past, "soavtorstvovat" with the entire history of art. The possession of this "dictionary" has helped them skillfully to compare elements in his paintings made, apparently, from different worlds. Hybridization old style and primitive social realism with the classics, abstraction or surrealism, not only provokes questions about the essence of these styles and their modern sense (as they exist in relation to each other), but also alluding to the fact that modern man lives and thinks in terms of insoluble chaos.

Painting by Komar and Melamid often part of larger projects: for example, in 1973, the artists presented to the public "art" of two fake paintings, Nicholas Buchumova and Apelles Zyablova - a figure that is as it were in opposition to the history of art (and each other). Buchumov, according to legend, lived in the beginning of last century, wrote the rural landscapes and struggled with the "modernists, constructivists"; Zyablov same, which gave at the time of Peter, was the first Russian abstractionist. The confrontation between tradition and modernity is reflected in the dark series "Nostalgic Socialist Realism" (1980) - pictures "under the old masters, but with Lenin and Stalin. In this project, Komar and Melamid have criticized the neo-conservative trends in American modern art. At that time they have lived in the U.S. (artists emigrated in 1977).

most famous brainchild of the duo, no doubt, is a series of "People's Choice" (1994-1997), in which they ironically both over the conservative tastes of the majority, and on contemporary art, which speaks of democracy, but it is elitist and not understood by the masses. Komar and Melamid conducted surveys in order to reveal the artistic preferences of residents of different countries, and then wrote a "perfect" picture. It turned out that almost all countries the majority of respondents like calm scenery, preferably with children and /or animals. And the most unloved genre is an abstraction. In 1996, Komar and Melamid, together with composer Dave Soldier (David Soldier) undertook a similar project: survey of 500 people and found that they most like and dislike in music, they created a most pleasant and most unpleasant song (you can listen to them on Website Ubuweb ).

work with "the broad masses of the artist not the first time. In late 1970, shortly after his arrival in New York City, they founded a company to buy up the human soul, thus "fire arrow" in Russian culture with its preoccupation with the soul, and in the U.S. "all sold." As a result of "arms" from latter-day Mephistopheles were souls of several hundred residents, including Andy Warhol (who gave them his soul completely free of charge) ...

picture of Komar and Melamid buy quite realistic . The sale is usually exhibited objects 1980, with estimeytami 50-100 thousand pounds sterling. In 2008-2009, such work often remained unsold, but a rare early painting brought a record amount. "Meeting Solzhenitsyn and Heinrich Boll Foundation in the country at Rostropovich's" comes from a private collection in London, in 1976 she exhibited at the first overseas exhibition of Komar and Melamid in New York's Ronald Feldman Gallery (Ronald Feldman), who had great success with the critics.

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