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The Twentieth Century

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Artist: Erik Bulatov
Date: 1990
Medium: Oil on canvas
Dimensions: 180 x 180 cm
Event: Soviet Repression
Motif: Remembrance  

The eye is drawn past the rooftops in the foreground to the blood-red horizon. Although the strobe light lures the viewer ahead, the artist has noted that this painting "deals with the past, not the future. The 20th century is almost over, and we already know what is was like for Russia." Bulatov is a leading figure in the Russian Sots-Art or Socialist Realism movement, a counterpart to American Pop Art, in which visual imagery challenges the ideological underpinnings of Soviet repression. In many of Bulatov's other works, Soviet slogans and propaganda super-imposed upon landscapes or cityscapes are an analogy for the imposition of Communism. Here, even in the absence of words, the past resounds. Says Bulatov: "Art is a rebellion of man against the everyday reality of life. Colors, forms, space - these are an artist's sensations, his thoughts, his 'reality'. A picture interests me as some kind of system, not hermetically sealed, but opening into the space of my everyday existence."

Credits: © 2001 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP Paris.