Sots Art. Political Art in Russia
October 21, 2007 – January 15, 2008
From October 21, 2007 to January 15, 2008 a large-scale exhibition of contemporary Russian art – "Sots Art. Political Art in Russia" was held in France. The exhibition was located in the famous Parisian foundation La Maison Rouge.
Sots Art originated in the Soviet Union in the early 1970s and 1980s among unofficial painters as a reaction against the official aesthetic doctrine of the state: Socialist Realism. The creators and artists of this movement include Vitaly Komar, Alexander Melamid, Boris Orlov, Alexander Kosolapov, Erik Bulatov. They critically, often ironically re-evaluated the soviet symbols, slogans and propaganda cliches. The Sots Art movement that developed as a parody of the artists’ environment received widespread attention during Perestroika period. Currently there are various styles and trends interpreting the political and social situation in the country using a variety of methods which have also been employed in Western art, for example, in pop-art.
The idea to gather together and exhibit various artists of the Sots Art style was first implemented in March 2007 during the Second Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art. The exhibition was prepared by the department of contemporary art trends of the State Tretyakov Gallery and was held in the exhibition halls at Krymsky Val.
The exhibition Sots Art. Political Art in Russia presented Sots Art through its chronological development – from projects by V. Komar and A. Melamid of 1972 to the works by contemporary Russian artists Oleg Kulik, Sergey Mironenko, Alexander Vinogradov and Vladimir Dubosarsky, Georgy Ostretsov, V. Tsagolov and others and included seven divisions each of which presented a certain Sots Art trend.
Russian art was represented by works by V. Komar and A. Melamid, I. Kabakov, E. Bulatov, G. Bruskin, B. Orlov, A. Kosolapov, L. Sokov and many other artists and crowned by the impressive installation by Georgy Ostretsov located right in the cafe of the Red House. The exhibition included about 300 works from the collection of the State Tretyakov Gallery, private collections and artists’ workshops.
The Ekaterina Cultural Foundation supported the project and provided seven works including the key work by Erik Bulatov – Slava KPSS (Long Live CPSU, 2003 - 2005), a bronze sculpture of Mickey and Minnie Mouse. Worker and Kolkhoz Woman (2004 - 2005) by Alexander Kosolapov, several works by Vitaly Komar and Alexander Melamid a sculpture by Grigory Bruskin and other works.